New dog comforts victims

There’s a new staff member at the Suffolk Country District Attorney’s office in Massachusetts.  It’s Indy, a Golden Retriever/Yellow Labrador cross, who is the office’s new comfort dog.

Photo courtesy of Boston.com

Indy at her press conference (photo courtesy of Boston.com)

New Dog Comforts Victims in Suffolk DA’s Office – Massachusetts news – Boston.com.

Is that dog a pit bull?

A recently published Open Access article “Is That Dog a Pit Bull? A Cross-Country Comparison of Perceptions of Shelter Workers Regarding Breed Identification” asserts that shelter workers operating in areas restricted by breed-specific legislation (BSL) are more likely to consciously mislabel a dog’s breed if they felt it were to increase the dog’s chances of being adopted and/or avoid being euthanized.

The study, published in Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science, compares the breed identification process between workers in the United States and the United Kingdom, noting that often the process relies on the individual worker’s intuition and prior experiences with other dogs. A survey with photos of the same twenty dogs were sent to shelters in the US and UK. American shelter workers were more likely to consider a dog a pit bull than their counterparts in the UK.

These are the photos that the research subjects were shown:

Pit bull identification photos

The pit bull terrier is banned or restricted by BSL in parts of the United States and throughout the United Kingdom. Shelters in both countries are often tasked with accepting unwanted animals and finding new homes for them; many of these animals are pit bulls or other bull breeds. BSL restrictions may include a total breed ban, or some lesser rules such as (but not limited to): higher licensing fees, registering the dog as dangerous with local governments, liability insurance coverage, mandatory sterilization, muzzling on public property, placement of warning signage on private property, and standardized caging requirements.

Shelter workers in areas affected by BSL know that a dog’s identification can influence micro-level trends such as adoption rates, but also macro-level trends such as breed perception nationally and even globally. The study highlights the fact that there exists a lack of consensus on what exactly a pit bull is, and calls to question the validity of determining breeds based on visual assessment.

Source:  Taylor & Francis media release

Teddy’s journey: Teddy on wheels

Teddy has had another good week; he’s still getting used to being an amputee, however.

Jill and his acupuncture vet, Susanne, both noticed that Teddy was hopping on his right hind leg – balancing mostly on the stronger left side.  By the time I saw Teddy on Friday, Teddy was already improving thanks to acupuncture and an osteopathic adjustment.  I spent most of his massage session working on tension in his upper thoracic spine, and giving his hind legs a good stretch.

Because Teddy still needs to be confined, without the opportunity to engage in lots of vigorous off-lead exercise, Jill has found some novel ways of getting Teddy around the house and their lifestyle block.

She started with his crate and a flat deck trolley (a dolly to those in North America)…

Teddy's crate

and added Teddy for a trip around the house…

Teddy the Beagle on wheels2

…and then she purchased him a pram on Trade Me (New Zealand’s equivalent of eBay) and can take him around the paddocks with the other Beagles.

Teddy the Beagle in pram

The pram has an added benefit, too.  Teddy has to balance in it because of how it rides on springs.  This is helping him build strength in his core – essential to achieve our goals for rehabilitation.

Tell me what you think of Teddy’s wheels!

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand

The impact of movies on dog breed popularity

The effect of movies featuring dogs on the popularity of dog breeds can last up to ten years and is correlated with the general success of the movies, according to new research from the University of Bristol, the City University of New York, and Western Carolina University.

The researchers used data from the American Kennel Club, which maintains the world’s largest dog registry totaling over 65 million dogs, and analysed a total of 87 movies featuring dogs. They found that the release of movies is often associated to an increase in popularity of featured breeds over periods of one, two, five, and ten years.

The influence of movies was strongest in the early twentieth century and has declined since.

Additionally, they found that these trend changes correlated significantly with the number of viewers during the movie’s opening weekend, considered as a proxy of the movie’s reach among the general public.

This suggests that viewing a movie may cause a long-lasting preference for a breed that can be expressed years later, when the time comes to buy a new dog.

The 1943 hit Lassie Come Home is associated, in the following two years, with a 40 per cent increase of Collie registrations in the American Kennel Club.

Lassie Come Home theater poster

An even more dramatic example is the 100-fold increase in Old English Sheepdog registrations following the 1959 Disney movie The Shaggy Dog.

Photo taken by Harald Urnes, Norway

Photo taken by Harald Urnes, Norway

Professor Stefano Ghirlanda, lead author of the study said: “We focused on changes in trend popularity rather than on popularity itself to avoid attributing to movies trends that were already ongoing before movie release, as up-trending breeds may have been chosen more often for movies.”

Earlier movies are associated with generally larger trend changes than later movies. This might be due to an increased competition with other media, such as television, and more recently, the internet, but also to an increased competition among movies. Movies featuring dogs were released at a rate of less than one per year until about 1940 but a rate of more than seven per year by 2005.

Dr Alberto Acerbi, a Newton Fellow in the Department of Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of Bristol and co-author of the paper said: “If people buy en masse dogs because they appear in movies the consequences can be negative for the dogs themselves. Our previous study found that the most popular breeds had the greatest number of inherited disorders.

“It’s not surprising that we tend to follow social cues and fashions, as this is a quite effective strategy in many situations. However, in particular cases the outcomes can be negative. When choosing a new pet, we may want to act differently.”

Source:  EurekAlert! media release

Facial recognition software for dogs

A new app, Finding Rover, aims to reunite owners with their lost dogs and to support the work of animal shelters.

Simply register (for free), upload a photo of your dog, and go.    When someone finds your dog, they send in a photo of the dog’s face to be scanned and matched through the database.

Of course, micro-chipping  is also a good way to identify your dog in the event it gets lost.  Micro-chipping is now mandatory in New Zealand.

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand

What Dog Sled Teams Can Teach Us About Leadership

Sled dogs

Dr Ivan Misner, founder of BNI, an international business networking organization, wrote this really interesting piece on leadership.  For where you work now, ask yourself – who are the leaders?

SuccessNet Online – What Dog Sled Teams Can Teach Us About Leadership

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand

Wordless Wednesday, part 48

Photo courtesy of Karen Eckstein Han

Photo courtesy of Karen Eckstein Han

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