Training Dogs to Spot Rattlesnakes

Today I returned home to find three men standing on a neighbor's driveway. One was the owner with his small dog on a leash. It wasn't until I had parked in the garage that I saw a big snake on the driveway as well.

It turned out that the neighbor had hired two men to bring a large defanged rattlesnake with a bite guard affixed to its face to train his dog to respond. The rattlesnake's rattle was surprisingly loud, and the Doppler effect was pronounced. For the while that I watched the training, the dog initially seemed to ignore the snake intentionally, although it would stay close to the owner's legs. At some point we later heard the dog yelp with fear.

Another neighbor happened by with her dog and said she had done the same training. Her dog had yelped as well at times, but he was apparently now able to sniff rattlers and notify her.

An Ill Omen

While sitting at my desk this morning before driving to campus, I heard a loud whack! at the balcony windows. Fearing they had cracked, I looked to find a bird had flown into it. I spotted just in time to see its death rattle. How dispiriting. It was not how I wanted to start my day.

Engineering for Dogs

My sister, who has had a few miniature Dachshunds who were troopers into quite advanced ages, sent me this video. It's pretty funny, but it is also interesting to see the dog understands how to operate the machine and respond to it.

Engineering for dogs!