Titles Achieved to date...

Monumental A to Z High On Liberty
NW1, NW2, L1I, L1E, L1C, RATI, RATN, RATO, RATS, L1V, L2C, L2I, L2E, RATM, R-FE/N, PKD-TL, PKD-N, ADPL1, ADPL2, TD, UWP, ADPL3, NTD, TKN, L2V, ADPL4, SDS-N, ADPL5, ADPCH, ADP1(2), ADPL1(GC), ADPL2(2), ADPL2(GC), VPN, AP, UWPCH, ADPL3(2), ADPL3(GC), NC, NI, NE, SCN, SIN, SEN, CZ8B, NV, NN, ADPL4(2), ADPL4GC), ADPGCH, ADPL5(2), RATCH, CZ8S, AI, TKI, AV, AE, AC, and AN... 59 and counting...

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Helfers NW Seminar

Yesterday I went to a seminar by Fred Helfers; it was great.  Before retirement, Fred was a police detection dog trainer, training all kinds of detection skills, including bomb, drug, fire accelerant, insect, and pipeline gas.  Now he's retired and naturally couldn't get totally out of dogs, so is teaching nosework and giving seminars.  My brain is still reeling from all the things I learned.  I will write more about the seminar this week. 

Still I wanted to share something.  I am reading "Cracker!", a novel, by Cynthia Kadohata.  There are two passages that struck me.  First:
"She lifted her nose to the air and breathed deeply, the way she did when she wanted to know what was going on.  This was different from the way she took in air when she was just breathing.  All she knew was that the air went someplace different when she was just breathing versus when she was trying to figure out a scent."
Interestingly this is one of the things I learned yesterday.  Dogs have the ability to direct the flow of air through their nasal chambers into different areas.  When a dog is sniffing scents, the air flows directly through olfactory sensors, sending information directly to the olfactory center of the brain.  When a dog is simply breathing, the air is detoured around the olfactory sensors.  

Fred told us there are only four species that can do this and of those, only canines are "useful" in this respect.  I find it interesting that an author who has written no other books featuring a dog would know something so specialized about how dogs process scents.  In fact, until yesterday, I would have considered this passage as just flowery prose.
Rick snapped back, 'People see what they want.  Dogs see what they see.'  That was a line Rick heard Cody use sometimes.  Humans saw in wholes, not in pieces.  They saw a total picture, colored by what they believed.  Dogs used their senses to 'see' all the details, uncolored by expectations and beliefs."
I am also reading "Animals in Translation", by Temple Grandin, this passage is spot on with her observations. Hers is a fascinating book that delves into how animals perceive the world around them, written from the perspective of someone who has autism.  Temple has become very influential in food producing industries and she designs facilities used worldwide for humane handling of livestock.  Her ability to "see" their world the way the animals do is instrumental in her success.

I recommend both books:
"Cracker!: The Best Dog in Vietnam" and
"Animals in Translation: Using the Mysteries of Autism to Decode Animal Behavior". 

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