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Vanessa Woods, Author of the Genius of Dogs answered this month’s question-
Barking is one of the reasons humans adopted dogs for the long haul. For our ancestors, barking would have been an invaluable early warning system against intruders. However, excessive barking in the modern world can be annoying, leading to frustration in sleepless neighbors and helpless owners.
Researchers have assessed several different methods for controlling barking, some of which were more effective than others.
Citronella spray collar
These collars work by releasing a cloud of citronella spray whenever the dog barks. Research has shown that this method was most effective when the collar was worn intermittently (e.g. every other day for 30 minutes), rather than continuously. This is surprising, since most would think it would have worked best if it sprayed the dog every time it barked.
However, the study also showed that collar did not stop dogs from…
An answer from Dr. Josep Call:
Thank very much for your inquiry, which touches on a crucial topic in the area of Animal Cognition.
There is no question that dogs remember several aspects of their daily lives including things like the places where they go (e.g., the park) and the routes that they take to get there (e.g., by the lake rather than across the woods), the activities that they engage in (e.g., playing catch), the objects that they use for those activities (e.g., Frisbee) as well as the people that share those activities with them. Without memory not only those activities would be vastly impaired, but even some more basic things like recognizing familiar smells and people or learning new things would be impossible for dogs.
Memory plays such a crucial role in our mental lives as well as those of our furry best friends that it…