It Won't Be the Machines We Have to Worry About...

I came upon a canine study the other day that has me so alarmed, I am still thinking about the implications several days later. On the website www.sciencedaily.com I read an article about scientists in Florida who conducted an experiment with wolves, shelter dogs and companion dogs (they live in human houses) to see how each category thought about and learned about human behavior.

The results of the study showed that all three were capable of assessing the state of attention of humans and gauging the best way to beg for food. Not only that, but they all got better with practice. Wolves were the least successful. Of course, when I say least, that is relative to shelter dogs and companion dogs since even wolves seemed to have us figured out on a basic level. Shelter dogs were more successful than wolves and companion dogs were the most successful at gauging our attentiveness based on cues, context and prior experience.

Bettina greyhound will rule the world
Beware humans!  This is your new leader.
Companion dogs had a pretty good grift going hitting the humans up for food and getting it more often than not. And they got more and more successful at manipulating us the more they hung out with us. Not only that but the companion dogs knew just how to approach us to ensure success.  Is any of this sounding familiar people?

Anyone living with a food motivated greyhound (99.99% of the greyhound population by my super-scientific method of guessing) knows that the results of this study are accurate. In fact, yet again I believe we could have saved the scientists a lot of time and money had they but asked us. Still, seeing it there in scientific black and white unsettled me greatly.

It is clear to me that the companion hounds living in my house have me absolutely pegged. I’m not sure what cues I’m giving or contexts I am creating. But reviewing life in our casa, it is plain that I have met the enemy and they are four legged. Today it’s food, toys, snuggle time, couch and bed access, tomorrow…I shudder to think of the possibilities. I know there are some people who believe that machines will one day take over the world. But I know differently. Bettina will actually be taking over the world and according to this study, in very short order.


  1. This has me roaring with laughter. Freedom, in particular, is a master. She is not pushy, but she knows the routine, the sounds and the weaknesses. As you said...scary. On a side note...I loved the pictures of Drew running with the pups. Looks like he got quite a workout.

  2. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Oh, this is SO relative to our house! My husband can never figure out why the dogs target him whenever he has food. I tell him it's because he feeds them. Then he tells me that he doesn't. And then he feeds them a little bite of what he's eating and says "Now leave me alone!" This is also the man who hides in the bathroom to eat his pie!

  3. I have no idea what you're talking about :) She sure does smart in those glasses.

  4. LOL! My guys aren't even remotely subtle when it comes to food. They woof, they nose poke, they stare, they drool...and they know I'm the softer touch. I eat faster than John so as soon as I'm done, they get up and move to the other side of the table to bug John!

  5. I would to see dog world domination!!

  6. Lol! Yes! I believe we could of saved the scientists a lot of time and money if they just would of asked some of this!

  7. At our house, Those Brindle Kids know they stand no chance of getting people food for treats. However, Truly has a built in clock somewhere in his body. At 5:00:00 p.m., EACH AND EVERY DAY, he walks to where I am and stares at me. He stares holes thru me. Maggie runs to get a toy and makes it squeak over and over and over again. Walker runs toward me then quickly switches direction and runs towards the kitchen. This behavior is so amazingly annoying that I go and give them their dinner. I'd say they have me pretty well trained. There's no end to what else they could train me to do . . .

  8. Ours were confused this morning, they seemed to think it was the weekend and were trying very hard for an outing to the beach or river this morning!

  9. I am guessing the wolves don't have to be successful at begging for food - they just eat the people :)
    We have some master beggers in our house and since Bridget got Cushings disease, she is practically unfillable!
    Yes, I can see Bettina is thinking about world domination....


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