By David S. Greene
February 3, 2011
OK, I can’t, but William Helton at the University of Canterbury can. His findings suggest you can be strong, or you can be fast, but probably not both. From Discovery News:
“In the real world, it would be hard to be both fast and efficient at running, and to be extremely strong in combat at the same time,” author William Helton told Discovery News. “Nature does not allow unlimited budgets and the trade-offs are often physical constraints.”
Helton, a senior lecturer in the University of Canterbury’s Department of Psychology, studied how well 217 dogs performed during International Weight Pulling Association sporting events for canines.
Brachycephalic, or broad-headed, dogs that participated included American Pit-Bull Terriers, American Bulldogs and Bernese Mountain Dogs. Dolichocephalic, or more narrow-headed, breeds consisted of Samoyeds, Siberian Huskies and Alaskan Malamutes.
None of the studied breeds included the extremes of each condition. Pugs, for example, have incredibly broad heads, while Borzois are the polar opposite.
Excuse me, I need to go find my tape measure.
A Dog’s Breakfast: One of the most controversial –Â and important –Â documentaries on the pet food industry will finally premiere on U.S. television. “A Dog’s Breakfast” aired on Canadian TV in 2008. The story of what gave rise to the 2007 pet food recall will air a week from today, Thursday, Feb.10 at 10 p.m. on CNBC. It will repeat Friday at 1 a.m., then again on Sunday, Feb. 13 at 10 p.m. (Hat tip to Mary Cvetan)
Note: Ingrid King informed us that “A Dog’s Breakfast” has been pulled from the broadcast schedule without explanation. Stay tuned for updates if it returns.
Performance depends on the handler’s beliefs: Interesting piece in Science Daily about a study out of UC Davis’ Department of Neurology. How a drug or explosive-sniffing dog does in their duties can be swayed by what their handler believes.
The study, published in the January issue of the journal Animal Cognition, found that detection-dog/handler teams erroneously “alerted,” or identified a scent, when there was no scent present more than 200 times — particularly when the handler believed that there was scent present.
“…There are cognitive factors affecting the interaction between a dog and a handler that can impact the dog’s performance,” said Lisa Lit, a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Neurology and the study’s lead author.
“These might be as important — or even more important — than the sensitivity of a dog’s nose.”
Stuffed things? I love stuffed things! Remember Pets.com? I still have a Pets.com sock puppet around here somewhere. Even though they went belly up more than10 years ago, the idea is being resurrected by a new startup. SF Gate says PetFlow has learned the lesson from Pets.com, and intends to remain profitable.
“They sold product for below cost,” PetFlow co-founder Alex Zhardanovsky says of Pets.com. “You can’t get a customer to buy a product for half price and then later charge them twice the price. It makes no sense.”
PetFlow might not offer insanely low prices, but they’re making a profit on each order they ship and are projecting to break even by the end of the year. In January, PetFlow has shipped out 7,000 different orders resulting in $600,000 of revenue for the month.
Whereas Pets.com offered free shipping even on heavy bags of food, PetFlow charges a consistent $4.95 shipping fee per order. They also have an exclusive deal with FedEx that reduces their shipping costs even more â€“ similar to the shipping deal Zappos has in place with UPS.
I just want them to have really good television ads.
They won’t catch us. We’re on a mission from Dog. My buddy Nancy Freedman-Smith at GoodDogz Blog wins the prize for this week’s best blog story.
Go Pack Go! Feel free to watch the Super Bowl this Sunday, but I have it on good authority the Green Bay Packers will win. How do I know? Veterinary Pet Insurance says so (full disclosure – a Pet Connection sponsor). Their inside information? Dogs’ names. Don’t laugh. Last year, they successfully picked the New Orleans Saints, and the year before, they said the Steelers would beat the Cardinals. This year, if the Packers win, that’s three in a row.
Cat movie: I’ve seen literally hundreds of videos about cats. However, Cat Diaries is different. It’s sponsored by Friskies, but from the cat’s point of view. (Thanks, Patti S.)
Midnight madness: Thanks to Lisa in Toronto for this wonderful ad from the Winnipeg Humane Society.
I always like to hear from readers, especially if you have tips, and links for interesting stories.Â Give me a shout in the comments, or better yet,Â send me an e-mail
Photo credit: Borzoi, Flickr Creative Commons (Llima)