Tag Archives: Yale University

Canine research goes to the Ivy League

Yale University’s Canine Cognition Center has recruited hundreds of dogs for a study into how the dog’s mind works.

In a puppet show-like performance, dogs watch a rat puppet help a hedgehog up a hill.  In another scene, the rat knocks over the hedgehog.  And the researchers want to know what the dogs think about that…

“Similar studies have been done with human infants, and what you find is that human infants — they don’t like the guy who was mean. And so we’re doing the same thing with dogs to try to see — do dogs morally evaluate as humans do?” Professor of Psychology Laurie Santos said.  Santos is the Director of the Center.

So far, the results show that the dogs are wary of the rat.

In another test, the dog sits and watches as their human sits and reads a book. The human puts the book on the floor behind them and, soon after, the book is taken by someone who comes into the room.

“What we’re really trying to see is whether or not dogs know when they’ve missed some information. Can they realize that, first of all, and when they do realize it, are they motivated to help?” Santos said.

Consistently, the dogs not only realize something is wrong, but they also seem to be trying to alert their companions.  Owners regularly give feedback that they believe their dog is observant and knows what they are thinking.  This research seems to back up those (amateur and probably biased) observations.

So far, Yale researchers have tested 300 dogs and found that the dog mind is much more complex than they originally thought.  There’s more work to be done and thousands of dogs on their waiting list…

Source:  CBS News

Alma mater dogs – The Yale University Bulldog

Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut is reportedly the first university in the United States to adopt a mascot, dating back to the 1890’s when a student from England started the tradition.

The official bulldog is named ‘Handsome Dan’ and the university’s current Handsome Dan is Number 17!  (You can read about all of the Handsome Dans on this website.)

Handsome Dan will appear at games of the university’s football team – you guessed it – The Bulldogs.

Cole Porter (class of 1913) wrote the Bulldog Song, which is the Yale fight song.  It’s played by the band whenever a touchdown is scored.  The song goes like this:

Bulldog!  Bulldog!
Bow, wow, wow
Eli Yale
Bulldog!  Bulldog!
Bow, wow, wow
Our team can never fail

When the sons of Eli
Break through the line
That is the sign we hail
Bulldog!  Bulldog!
Bow, wow, wow
Eli Yale!

Official merchandise of the Yale athletics teams is known as Bulldog Blue.

And like most university mascots, the image of Handsome Dan is replicated throughout merchandise, events and student life on the Yale campus.