The Barking Lot is a regular weekly feature of This Just In…Written by my lovely wife, Jennifer and me. It opens with the weekend dog walking forecast followed by the main blog from dog lover, Jennifer. Then it’s DOGS IN THE NEWS and our close. Enjoy!
THE WEEKEND DOG-WALKING FORECAST: We grade the weather outlook for taking your pet outdoors.
TODAY: Mostly cloudy. High of 47. “C”
SUNDAY: Rain is likely, a 90% chance. We could see a quarter of an inch. High of 52. “F”
Now, here’s my lovely wife, Jennifer, with this week’s main blog.
It’s that time of year again.
Before you go to bed Saturday…
Lots of people love this particular changing of the clocks because they hate daylight savings time (DST). When you move clocks forward in spring you lose that hour of sleep. Research indicates that the transition into DST causes a spike in fatal car crashes every year. One study determined the change into DST is responsible for more than 30 deaths and $275 million in damage annually. In the U.S., the number of heart attacks jumps about 25% the Monday following the spring change, but there’s a 21% drop in the number of heart attacks on the Tuesday after the fall change.
Whether it’s spring or fall many clocks need to be switched including microwaves, stoves, cars, alarm systems, thermostats, cordless phones, timers etc.
The point is people notice. They are extremely cognizant of time. But what about dogs?
Can your pet tell time? The answer basically is yes!
Now don’t run out and buy Fido a wrist watch. Just understand that man’s best friend has an inner clock.
Northwestern University has just published the most up-to-date study illustrating animals are fully capable of judging time. By focusing on the brain’s medial entorhinal cortex researchers made a surprising discovery. They found a previously unknown set of neurons that trigger that inner clock when an animal is waiting.
For example, let’s say you feed your dog at 5:00 every afternoon. Now it’s 5:15, 5:30, 5:45. You still haven’t taken care of that responsibility and you’re now an hour late. Yes, the dog is aware, and not just because of hunger.
Daniel Dombeck and James Heys of Northwestern conducted the study with an experiment where a mouse runs on a treadmill in a virtual reality environment. The mouse learns to run down a hallway to a door that is located about halfway down the track. After six seconds, the door opens, allowing the mouse to continue down the hallway to receive its reward.
This went on several times until Dombeck and Heys made the door invisible. The mouse still realized where the door would be because of the floor’s changing textures. And the mouse continued to wait six seconds at the same spot, then raced down the hallway for a reward.
“Does your dog know that it took you twice as long to get its food as it took yesterday? There wasn’t a good answer for that before,” said Dombeck, who led the study. “This is one of the most convincing experiments to show that animals really do have an explicit representation of time in their brains when they are challenged to measure a time interval.”
“The important point here is that the mouse doesn’t know when the door is open or closed because it’s invisible,” said Heys. “The only way he can solve this task efficiently is by using his brain’s internal sense of time.”
The inner clock.
Researchers were also able to reach their conclusion by imaging the mice’s brain activity.
This study could be quite significant.
“Patients with Alzheimer’s disease notably forget when things happened in time,” Heys said. “Perhaps this is because they are losing some of the basic functions of the entorhinal cortex, which is one of the first brain regions affected by the disease.”
“So this could lead to new early-detection tests for Alzheimer’s,” Dombeck said. “We could start asking people to judge how much time has elapsed or ask them to navigate a virtual reality environment — essentially having a human do a ‘door stop’ task.”
Recently we heard that dogs aren’t as smart as we think they are. As for me, I’m still in the “dogs are truly amazing” camp.
Time now for DOGS IN THE NEWS, canines that made headlines the past week.
VA: Fatal dog experiments moving ahead despite criticism from Congress, veterans groups.
We’ve written before that sadly, the news isn’t always good. We refrain from posting the horrific stuff no one wants to read about. But we do occasionally blog sad and serious material. For example: Child killed while chasing dog will be buried with beloved pet.
Dogs sniffing out human disease could lead to new biosensor technology.
Lara Trump and the attorney general of Florida write against dog racing.
A Chinese city is keeping tabs on bad dog owners with a credit score.
Parachuting pup could receive first license to skydive without a human.
How a man survived after his dog shot him on a hunting trip.
Pup Who Saved Owner From Rattlesnake Wins Dog of the Year.
Meet Gideon, the ten-year-old boy who has pet 600 dogs and counting.
THAT’S IT FOR DOGS IN THE NEWS.
HERE’S OUR DOG PHOTO(s) OF THE WEEK.
George H. W. Bush, 94, took his service dog, Sully, with him to the polls on Thursday to vote early in the midterm elections. The 41st president’s former White House spokesman, Jim McGrath, posted a picture of the moment on Twitter, writing, “The 41st President accompanied by his two best friends — Jim Baker and Sully — discharging his civic duty and voting today.”
The image shows Bush in a wheelchair sitting in front of an electronic ballot machine as Sully lounges on the ground beside his owner. Meanwhile, Baker, Bush’s former chief of staff, leans over his shoulder to offer some assistance.
A dog in costume as a evil vendor is seen during the 28th Annual Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Parade at East River Park Amphitheater in New York on Oct. 28, 2018. (Photo: Gordon Donovan/Yahoo News)
Dogs in carriers dressed as Popes stand on stage before the judges during the 28th Annual Tompkins Square Halloween Dog Parade at East River Park Amphitheater in New York on Oct. 28, 2018. (Photo: Gordon Donovan/Yahoo News)
The Great PUPkin is the largest and longest-running dog costume competition in Brooklyn. It was held last Sunday. The following photos are from gothamist.com:
We close as we always do with our closing video.
That’s it for this week.
Thanks for stopping by.