Tag Archives: toys

Cloning of a different kind

Love your dog and want to keep them with you forever?  Well, here’s a low-key way of cloning your dog – Cuddle Clones.

This innovative company takes a photo of your dog and creates a unique plush version of your dog which you can keep forever.  The likenesses and workmanship are remarkable.

Cuddle clones

Norm cuddle clone

Tatum cuddle clone

The company does other animals, too (not just dogs).  A cuddle clone of your dog will be US$249 and the company is already fully booked for Christmas 2015.  They will ship internationally, too, which is a real point of difference from many craft/pet companies.  (Shipping will be an additional cost, of course).

I’d love to have one of these of Izzy someday.

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

 

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Izzy learns something new

I ‘commissioned’ a new toy for Izzy this Christmas – it was not a new or innovative design and there are many videos circulating with dogs using similar ones.  It’s made of wood and re-used drink bottles.

And until a couple of days ago, Izzy didn’t understand it was for her.  All she managed to do was to chew on the wooden frame and screws that held it together a few times.

But then, Izzy had a play date with her friend, Helga,  who is a Bernese Mountain Dog.  And Helga showed some interest in the toy with the addition of a little peanut butter at the top of one of the bottles.

Izzy and Helga take a break from playing together

Izzy and Helga take a break from playing together

Helga went home and, within minutes of her leaving, Izzy started to engage with her new toy.  Best of all, I caught it on video:

Clever girl, she just needed a little doggy leadership to show her the way!

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

Dog intelligence

Most dog owners have an opinion about their dog’s intelligence.  I regularly hear comments like, “He’s so smart, he’s ahead of the rest of his obedience class” or “He’s not very bright, but we love him.”

 When I was working on my management qualification years ago, we were told to go home and ask our partner/flatmate about how they solved problems.  Ebony, my Labrador flatmate at the time, came up with these tips, which I thought were very intelligent:

  1. Remember that chasing your tail does not get you anywhere.  It also makes you dizzy and less able to focus on the task at hand.
  2. Eat regularly and often.  Problem solving is hard work and requires energy.
  3. Don’t underestimate the value of a nap.  A problem looks different after you’ve had a good sleep.
  4. If you stare at a problem long enough, it might move on its own.
  5. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.  Try looking cute.
  6. If looking cute doesn’t work, try whining.
  7. If whining fails, loud retching noises are guaranteed to get the attention of those around you.
  8. Some problems soften over time.  Burying them in the garden hastens this process.
  9. Some problems require more immediate attention.  An immediate problem, if left unattended, is likely to result in a much more smelly mess to be cleaned up later.

There are many published works on the subject of dog intelligence.  Over the years, I’ve read countless research studies into this subject.  There are many institutions involved in the research.  All projects have the goal of understanding how dogs think.

Professor Stanley Coren of the University of British Columbia has authored several books about dog intelligence.  He states that dogs have the intellectual capacity of a two-year old and can understand more than 150 words.[1]

Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology have studied the ability of dogs to interpret human gestures.  When researchers hid food beneath one container in a group and pointed to the ‘right’ container, dogs consistently picked up on those cues better than even chimpanzees (a species widely studied because of the evolutionary link between apes and humans).

Earlier this year, a research team at the University of Otago reported on their study that showed that dogs could readily distinguish happy human sounds from sad or angry ones, suggesting an ability to understand human emotions.

Even the dog toy market has recognised that dogs need mental stimulation.  The Nina Ottosson range, for example, offers a range of skill level toys designed to make your dog think about how to reveal their food reward.

Daisy demonstrates her intelligence with a Nina Ottosson toy

Despite all of this evidence, including videos of my Daisy using her interactive toys, many of the non-dog people in my life remain unconvinced about the intelligence of dogs.  I believe that persistence will pay off.  Over time we will see more and more research about the intellectual capacity of our dogs.  The non-believers will become believers.


[1] Science Daily, 10 August 2009