They invented a sensor-packed harness which can sense a dog's movement, and the sounds it makes. The purpose is letting the owners know how their dogs feel. This is quite a bewildering news, and not in a good way:
Fail #1: a dog owner, not to mention a trainer, should be able to read and understand dog behavior.
They shouldn’t need a dictionary, a device, or someone else to get what’s up with their pet. They should have built up some skills, or at least they should be trying to get them. Of course, that’s not for free: it requires commitment, motivation, an open mind and some time. And it requires reliable sources, like the ethogram of the dog, which is fundamentally the alphabet you need to get what your dog is claiming or feeling. No high-tech harness or any other devices can do that for you.
And here’s the reason:
They say “Dogs communicate primarily through body language, and one of our challenges was to develop sensors that tell us about their behavior by observing their posture remotely”
This male mixed breed displays a jaw punch towards his owner.
(tale a look to Ethogram of agonistic behaviours of the dog)
Fail #2: Yes, dogs do communicate primarily through body language.
But the thing is, it’s much more subtle than a blatant gesture or movement. Sometimes it’s about a glance, a posture, a pose, a muzzle expression, a tiny detail. Aware eyes can get every slight expression, but no way that a machine can do that. Moreover there’s a whole bunch of elements which aren’t detected by that harness: when a dog walks, he walks somewhere, towards someone, towards something, or on the contrary he might walk away from someone or something.
He can pick a peculiar direction according to the people, dogs, resources that are standing around, and every decision or every movement he makes has a meaning. Nothing is random. A good dog reader pays attention to the surroundings and knows how valuable every detail is. He knows how to collect elements, how to compose the puzzle and how to give it a meaning.
Roll in front
The female Golden Retriever rolls as the male Beauceron approaches, displaying courtship behaviours.
( tale a look to Ethogram of imposing behaviours of the dog)
They also refer to “guide dogs that are bred and trained not to display signs of stress in their behavior”
Fail #3: Guide and service dogs in general do display signs of stress.
They might not be in capital letters, but they are there, pretty clear and visible. They just need someone to be able, and willing, to see them. Family dogs express themselves in a clear way as well, but they usually go unseen. An ignored dog is a pretty sad, and common, thing to see and yet, there’s plenty around. You can stumble on them every day, just taking a stroll.
This White Swiss Shepherd is whining with mouth open
( tale a look to Ethogram of fear, stress and de-escalation behaviours of the dog)
We aren’t concerned that a device could take over trainers and owners. That is not going to happen. But it saddens us that is common belief that there’s no real need to commit to learn the ethogram of the dog. That it’s easy and obvious to understand what our dogs are telling us. This attitude just leads to a pile of misunderstandings. This attitude comes with a price and the dogs are paying it.
(here’s the news http://goo.gl/NurEog)
Text Sylvie Vuillermoz
Photos Daniele Robotti
COPYRIGHT 2014 SKILLADIN SNC - All rights reserved