Golden Retriever Tuesday is an incredible service dog who helps an Iraq veteran to overcome his debilitating PTSD. I have posted about this wonderful team several times (here, here, here, here & here), and they are featured at my Mitigating a World of Hurt – Psychiatric Service Dogs Stepping up to the Challenge webpage (landofpuregold.com/sitstaysoothe.htm).
Well, now they are going to be a part of what looks to be a wonderful documentary airing Sunday, August 8th, at 8pm est / 9pm pst on the National Geographic Channel.
and Man created Dog
As detailed at the National Geographic Channel site, “If humans were as varied as dogs we would range in height up to 22 feet tall and in weight more than 1,000 pounds. In the ultimate canine ancestral story, NGC traces the genetic journey from wolf to dog, taking viewers back 100,000 years to meet the “mother of all dogs.” It’s no accident that dogs evolved this way, as humans have been selectively breeding them for around 14,000 years to serve our needs as laborer, companion, hunter, herder and warrior, as well as to suit our aesthetic fancy.”
The dog is considered to be the most varied mammal on the planet. This variety is a due to human tinkering – or artificial selection – that began more than 15,000 years ago, when humans began selecting traits they wanted or needed in their canine companions. Here are some interesting facts detailed about our favorite furry family members:
- The world’s fastest breed of dog, the Greyhound has an astounding heart. A 65-pound greyhound’s heart is about the same size as that of a human athlete weighing twice as much, yet the running greyhound’s heart rate beats twice as fast as the running human’s: about 310 to 340 beats/minute vs. 170 to 210 for the human.
- The only animal that can accelerate faster than a greyhound over a short distance is a cheetah.
- One of the greatest challenges for canine athletes is the grueling 1,000-mile Iditarod sled dog race in Alaska. Scientists found that the average husky burned 11,000 calories a day – or about eight times the proportional calories a Tour de France cyclist burns. In addition, the dogs take in triple the oxygen of human athletes.
- A dog’s sense of smell is much more sophisticated than a human’s. While the strongest odor overwhelms all others to our noses, the dog can differentiate a myriad of scents simultaneously. Dogs devote 40 times more brainpower to smell than humans.
- Dogs have vastly superior hearing than humans, but they are born deaf, with their ear canals sealed. They cannot hear until they are about two weeks old. When they mature, they can hear sounds at four times the distance we can.
- The human ear is fixed, but a dog and tilt, turn, raise, and lower their ears to pinpoint the origin of sound. They can also work each ear independently of the other.
- Dogs can be taught to understand well over 100 spoken words. Dr. Stanley Coren says the average dog can be taught as many as 165 individual words – more words than an ape can recognize.
- Dogs communicate with each other by using body language as well as vocalization. The tail is the most obvious signaling device. Here are the definitions of some dog tail positions: Tail up and curved over the back: confident pose of the dominant dog. Tail tucked between the legs: sign of fear, submission.
- One of the most human gestures of a dog is the yawn. But while we yawn to increase oxygen flow, a dog’s yawn is a sign of anxiety or stress.
- Dogs cannot smile, so their happy expression is a slightly open mouth with the tongue slightly draped over the lower teeth.
- Modern-day needs have led to modern-day breeds. The Labradoodle, a cross between a Labrador retriever and a standard poodle was originally bred to create an intelligent, easily trained guide dog for blind people with allergies to retriever dog fur.
- Dogs not only have acute sense of smell, but that they can be trained to use that sense to help us. Most remarkable is the experiment where five ordinary dogs were trained to detect breast and lung cancer in the exhaled breath of people. Their detection accuracy was between 88 and 97 percent.
- The dog is the most varied mammal on the planet with the extremes of variation so dramatic that they achieve two orders of magnitude — ranging from the two-pound Chihuahua to the 200-pound mastiff. In height terms, the range is from the not-quite-seven-inch-high dachshund to the three-and-a-half-foot-tall Great Dane.
- While variations in most animals are a result of natural selection, the vast variety of widely differing traits we see in dogs is the result of human-directed artificial selection. Now a study by scientists at the University of Washington has found that such breeding has altered 155 distinct genetic locations of dogs that could account for such breed differences as size, coat color, texture, and behavior.