Wednesday, June 29, 2016

"I Just Want To Be With You"?

This video is supposed to celebrate the love between puppies and kittens. They just want to be friends, right? Look at the lengths this one’s going to just to reach his canine BFF! 

Video credit:

Actually, no. 

I suspect that kitty, driven by boredom from his unenriched living quarters, is testing his climbing abilities. However, on making it up the glass he finds himself somewhat restricted vis a vis where to go next. He finds himself with two options: sideways, or down. 

Cats aren’t known for their ability to get down from high places (just ask any suburban firefighter), so, it’s not surprising that kitty opts for trying to continue at his current height. 

This leads him straight into the dogtank. 

Pupster, by contrast, seems pretty darn excited to have a new friend in his boring little box. He's even "helping" kitty down. What’s concerning is that puppies that age don’t have much of an off switch, and they’re not always totally aware of (a) what their body is doing (b) how to not do that. Look at 0:45 onwards; the puppy seems to be grabbing the kitten's face and pulling. Could kitty change his mind at this point, even if he wanted to? I'm not so sure. 

What we’re seeing is dangerous behavior, and a living environment that hasn’t been properly designed with even basic safety in mind. This behavior is probably caused by understimulation, which can have a really negative effect on the rapidly growing brains of young animals. 

Pups and kittens shouldn’t be housed in tanks by themselves, whether in a pet store, a shelter or anywhere else. Putting an overexcited puppy in a small box with a kitten is not a good idea. Someone might get hurt. 

Monday, June 13, 2016

Super Crossover Edition!

I know this blog is designed to be about dogs being misinterpreted, but when my friends at IAABC asked me to do a guest post about a different animal, I couldn't resist telling the story of Cookie the Penguin, star of the most inappropriate viral video you probably ever sent Grandma.

You can read the full tale of depravity on page 46 of IAABC's new online journal, nestled amongst much more scholarly works.

(In fact, I had so much fun that I ended up being the managing editor of the whole journal, SOMEHOW, but never mind that. Just enjoy the heartwarming story of a perverted penguin and his oblivious hand-ler.)

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Gotta bounce!

This video has been doing the rounds for a while, it's supposed to be an instance of cross-species learning. Sometimes the dog is supposed to be teaching the baby how to bounce, sometimes the baby is supposed to be inspiring the dog. 

Both explanations are an equally massive overreach. There's a simpler way to describe the scene, and it goes a little something like this:

Baby: Boing boing boing *gurgle*
Baby: Wobble wobble. Ooh, colorsandshapes. Might shit myself in a bit. Splurk.

Parent: I am witnessing a truly meaningful and emotionally touching moment. Thank the stars I was ready with my camera!

It must be wonderful to be so misinformed....

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The Littlest Warzone

This video is supposed to be funny because the little dog thinks he’s protecting the girl from an attacker. What a brave doggy, he’s so tiny, etc etc. 

[Trigger warning for dogs: Loud barking!]

Is the dog heroically protecting the kid from a perceived assault, like a miniature Marine? Maybe. Does that make everything okay? Not even a bit. 

The kid isn't going to care whether the dog has delusions of heroism when he's in urgent care. His parents' lawyers aren't going to care when they sue your ass, either.

Think about it from the dog's point of view. Supposing his motivation really is to protect the girl (rather than the more likely, “I don’t like this unpredictable child, I need to make him stop doing scary stuff”), is that really a world we want the dog to live in? Where there are constant dangers to himself and his loved ones, and he has to risk his neck to protect them? That sounds like a conscript living in a war zone. Not cool. 

Sooner or later, barking and charging isn't going to work. What if he gets yelled at or hit, instead of laughed at? What if the scary thing doesn’t go away like usual? If at first you don't succeed, try harder, right? Since there's no air support to call on, I guess our little soldier will just have to get a bigger gun. That just means escalating aggression, which means more stress for the dog and "suddenly" the owners are left with a "nasty little ankle biter". Whose fault is that?

Original video source:

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The Scariest Thing I Have Ever Seen

It was bound to happen sooner or later. A video so terrible that even I, with my well-worn armor of detached cynicism, found genuinely disturbing. A video that I can barely bring myself to watch again, because even though I know how it ends, I still want to scream “Noooooooo!” at my laptop. 

As heavy as it weighs on me, I do consider it my obligation to explain what is really happening in this video. This dog is massively, overwhelmingly uncomfortable with what is happening and her people are oblivious.

Look how still Dizzy's head is, and how much tension is in her front legs. She’s on a knife-edge right now. Look at how she twists her body away—she’s desperate to get out of this situation. Every fiber of her being is employed in expressing how bad she’s feeling, from her knitted brow to her submissive grin. 

Dizzy is going to bite someone’s face off, and it’s probably going to happen soon. The victim will have no idea why this happened, because it will be in the course of another session just like this one. Only this time some subtle thing will be different for Dizzy—a headache, a trapped nerve, adrenaline from a recent game of fetch, who knows what—and she’ll give up trying to communicate without violence. 

Saturday, May 14, 2016

The Corner Table

Bonnie the rescue chihuahua was apparently nervous in her new home, and needed some canine reassurance:

Dog behaviorists were surprised to see this, because the standard suggestion is to keep dogs apart at mealtimes. This is especially important if the dogs don’t know each other well, because some dogs are protective about their dinner. It’s unlikely that a new addition to a family would seek the company of a strange dog whilst in a particularly vulnerable situation. 

What’s going on, then? I suspect it’s not loneliness so much as anxiety about the location of the food dish. Bonnie has been put in a corner where there’s only one exit route - past whoever is holding the camera - and asked to put herself in a vulnerable position. It’s hard to check for danger when you’re nose-deep in kibble, after all.  It might be that the chihuahua doesn’t feel safe looking down at her food in a small, inescapable corner. 

Of course, it’s not impossible that the presence of the other dog - even though they’re probably not securely bonded yet - is reassuring for Bonnie. From a behavioral standpoint, however, the simplest explanation is that the little chi is trying to optimize her dining experience. Nobody wants a table way in the back of the restaurant. 

Appliance Noncompliance

If you’re a little white fluffy dog, best believe you’re going to develop some type of relationship with your blow dryer. If you’re lucky, a trip to the groomers will leave you feeling like this:

But for some marshmallowdogs, the dryer is a noisy, scary thing. Take this guy, who is supposedly “protecting” a nearby infant from the rampaging appliance: 

There is nothing about this interaction that suggests the dog gives a fig about that baby. The little dog is clearly petrified of the dryer—we can see him cowering, trying to hide behind the adult's knee, and throwing out a whole bunch of stress signals—and he’s retreating to the blanket because he think he’ll be safe there. And he’s probably right; it’s unlikely the baby’s parents would subject the baby to the scary dryer, even though they haven’t noticed that’s exactly what they’re doing to their poor dog. 

Ironically, then, a more accurate interpretation of the video is, “dog hopes baby will protect him from dryer”. Or even, "dog's owners have a really mean way to train 'go to your mat'". Either way, don't expect this fluffy pupper to be winning the Medal of Honor anytime soon. 

Saturday, May 7, 2016

The Bland Leading the Bland

This "unbelievable" video is supposed to show the goodness of a kitty's heart:

What’s the cat doing here? Its tail is up vertically, and it’s butting the dog with its shoulder, both of which are usually interpreted as friendly, social behaviors.

Does this look like the cat is trying to guide the dog, in an unbelievable show of understanding? Not so much. When the dog starts to veer towards the car, the cat doesn’t do anything.  If anything, kitty is being kind of annoying, insistently butting in between the dog and whoever is holding the camera. If there’s anything unbelievable about the video, it’s that the little dog doesn’t seem to mind! 

In short, what’s happening in the video is: nothing. It’s just a local cat trying to say hi to a dog, who is following its owner and not really paying kitty any attention. Meh.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Reading Into Things

The Dodo, surely our favorite source of questionable material, picked up on this video from the Humane Society of Missouri recently, about a creative new program that's supposedly benefiting kids and dogs alike: 

It’s really great to see shelters trying to make themselves into welcoming, educational places for kids–let me get that straight first of all. However,  this video isn’t showing many dogs that look like they’re getting much out of the experience. I'll go through chronologically:

Two of the dogs in the second shot are clearly barking at the window; very definitely no relaxation for those guys. 

The tan and white bully type, in the front between 0:21 and 0:29 almost seems like it’s adorably trying to follow along with the words, but look how still he is.  The dog is staring, with a half-bowed head and tense front legs—all in all, probably not a picture of relaxation. 

The black and white one is exhibiting classic signs of stress - we can see panting, pacing around the room, looking around, and yawning. Again, the behavior suggests a dog who is not having a chill time of things.

And the last dog, with the cone—fast asleep, so who knows? Dogs sleep when they’re recovering, when they’re relaxed, and also when they’re highly stressed. It’s impossible to tell which of those is happening, so again, this isn’t showing us much.

Getting kids involved in learning about dogs is a great thing, but placing them outside their habitats and having them make incomprehensible noises without interacting with the dogs seems like it’s more likely to be a stressful experience than a calming one. 

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Husky Backpack

This is probably the weirdest video I’ve come across in a while. It’s supposed to be a husky that prefers piggyback rides to regular walking:

There are several confusing things about this video —not least of which, whoever heard of a husky that doesn’t want to walk? Aren’t they supposed to be bred to go go go?

Well, in theory any dog can be a lazy, demanding jerk, so let’s leave that to one side. We actually have a much bigger problem with this video, namely, that it’s not all the same video. It’s two completely separate events stuck together. The first “scene”, by a busy road, shows the husky jumping about on its leash, which is pretty normal for an excitable dog. In the second, at what looks like a creek bed, the dog’s owner picks him up and carries him past another dog. Somehow, the man has managed to be in a completely different location, in a completely different pair of trousers, between 0:11 and 0:12. 

My suspicion, with no real evidence, is that the husky is difficult to handle around other dogs—we can see him staring at the black dog walking past—which is why its owner has gotten into the habit of hoisting it onto his back. Whether the husky enjoys it or not, we’ll never know. 

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Sneaky Weenie

Here’s a dachshund that’s supposedly demonstrating a flair for the theatrical - lulling her friend into a false sense of security by pretending to be asleep until she has a chance to share a toy.

MI6 should probably hold off sending their recruiter, however, because this dog is not a future secret agent. She’s actually giving us a pretty great demonstration of how to respond to something called Resource Holding Potential.

The big dog is having a great time with the toy, but the little dog wants it. However, it’s pretty clear that she’s not going to get it by asking nicely - she tries, but the big dog moves to cover the toy with her body, and gives her a bit of side-eye into the bargain. These are ways to tell the dachshund to back off. The dachshund responds by yawning, which is a calming signal. The conversation is going like this:

“Toy! Yay, I’m biting it! Wheeeee!”
“Can has?”
“No. Mine.”
“But what if it was….maybe mine instead?”
“Nope. Not happening. My toy.”
“Okay, okay. Chill. I’m going over here. Enjoy your stupid toy”

When it seems like the big dog might be done with the toy, the dachshund gets right back in there - but alas, she’s jumped the gun! Once again, the big dog makes it clear that she’s pretty invested in keeping it all to herself, and once again the dachshund makes the smart choice. 

The little dog might not be a candidate for covert ops, but she’s definitely got great social skills!

Monday, March 28, 2016

Kids Riding Dogs: Rode-uh-oh....

There are a lot of videos of kids riding dogs in the wilds of the Internet. So many that if I wanted to comment on them all, it would be a full-time job - at least for the six hours I would last before tearing all my own hair out and running naked into the forest. 

To preserve the already fragile remnants of my sanity, then, I’ve taken one compilation video as a representative sample of all the videos of kids sitting on the backs of dogs in the known universe. 

This video is a reference guide of ways a dog can tell you it’s not feeling happy. Look at the fourth dog in the video, between 0:36 and 0:57. He’s pretty much the poster child for politely requesting you get the hell off. We see lip licking, “whale eye”, tight lips, yawning, looking at the handler, briefly licking the child - all classic stress signals in dogs. This handy poster by artist Lili Chin handily doubles as a Stressed Dog Bingo card. Unfortunately, the only prize is a bite in the face….

Physically, dogs have not evolved to cope with downwards pressure on their backs. Their muscles aren’t capable of withstanding the force of a giggling, wiggling, bouncing child; it can cause muscle pulls and tearing, leading to pain. Do this enough times, and you’ll give the dog back problems. It will be in constant pain. Try to sit a kid on a dog that you don’t know is in pain, and well, I’m sure you can guess how that might end up.  

If there’s an instance of a human sitting astride a canine that isn’t covered in this video, it doesn’t matter. All possible dog-riding permutations are entirely, 100%, a Very Bad Idea. 

Friday, March 11, 2016

Ducklings: The Ugly Truth

Recently, The Dodo published an article about a pair of littermates who “love” a pair of ducklings.

(Ah, the Dodo. Remember when they used to be cool?)

The first video is supposed to show one of the dogs being “protective” of the ducklings:

Is that happening? Nope. The dog is staying very still, ears back, brows furrowed, sometimes looking away. These aren’t behaviors we’d expect to see in resource guarding; they’re more like avoidance behaviors. The dog looks like he’s been put in a down-stay and instructed to leave the ducklings alone. He’s not doing anything that would suggest guarding - he’s not really doing much of anything at all. 

The second video is supposed to be “playing”:

What about this video looks like play? None. The dog is just lying there, on his side, motionless. Even when the ducks are pulling at his ear, this dog might as well be comatose. If the dog were playing, we’d expect to see play bows, sniffing, nudging - we’d expect to see something, at least! This behavior looks like two cues - “settle” and “leave it”. 

Clearly, these dogs are very well-trained. It’s not easy to resist something so deliciously bite-sized. And, they might be having a good time practicing impulse control - hopefully there’s a reward in it for them when the filming is over. But these videos are not evidence of a warm and fuzzy bond with their new adopted family members. 

Monday, March 7, 2016

A Real Howler

Here’s a husky supposedly “comforting” a squalling baby.

Does the dog look particularly concerned about the baby’s wellbeing? Nope. He’s making a noise because the baby is making a noise, and that’s what huskies do. 

Northern breeds like huskies often find themselves howling when they hear other howl-like noises - anything from pianos to fire trucks can set them off. It’s an example of social facilitation. If there’s a more obnoxious howling noise than a baby crying, I haven’t heard it yet. 

Why did the baby stop crying? No idea. Could be related to the strange new noise the husky is making, or it could be because it’s been crying for a while and nobody seems to be doing anything. We just don’t know. What we do know is that dogs don’t really give a crap about babies. 

Original video post:

Strictly Baby Dog Whisperer

This baby is being touted as the "next Dog Whisperer" for his intuitive grasp of canine communication. 

While she's probably more effective than the actual dog whisperer (and certainly less dangerous), this isn’t baby’s first steps to global dog training stardom because Wicket the puppy has no idea what’s going on. 

These behaviors - bowing, high-pitched barking, the fast wagging tail, and the little forward and backward bounces - suggest that the little puppy is conflicted. It’s excited about the gurgling, weird-smelling blob over there, but also kind of scared of it. Is it scary, or fun? Is it a toy? 

Puppies often act this way around strange objects. There’s a risk that the excitement can turn into anxiety, which is why it’s important to introduce them to lots of new things in a fun, positive way. 

The baby, as far as I can tell, is just making baby noises. Babies do that, apparently. Sophie may be trying to communicate with the dog, but maybe not. Either way, this isn’t a conversation, it’s two monologues happening at the same time. Perhaps Sophie and Wicket can look forward to careers in politics…

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Lobster Thermidorable

Here’s a well-known video. The GSD’s owners claim that their dog is being “protective” over the lobster “because she’s never had puppies of her own”. 

This is, frankly, nuts. Lobsters don’t smell like puppies. Lobsters smell like food. Dogs don’t spontaneously adopt food items as surrogate babies. What’s going on here is resource guarding. 

Everybody in the room wants to eat this poor lobster. Possession is 100% of the law in a dog’s mind, and this dog is 100% invested in keeping the tasty lobster to herself. She’s worried about it being taken from her, so she’s communicating to the other dogs that if they try any funny business, there will be consequences. 

Resource guarding is a potentially dangerous behavior that needs to be addressed with management and humane training, because other dogs and people in the house could get hurt. 

Worse still, it’s likely the lobster is having a pretty bad time itself. They do feel pain, and being outside its natural environment and subject to the dog’s “mothering” is probably pretty unpleasant. 

So it’s not just mistaken, it’s dangerous and cruel to shellfish. A triple whammy of nope.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

They See Me Rollin'

Oakland the dog is supposed to be learning how to cartwheel with his little friend: 

If this were true, it would be a charming example of social learning - something we know dogs are capable of. Dogs do imitate each other, and they can learn to imitate humans, too. 

However, dogs don't need to learn to roll over. It's instinctive, a fixed pattern. If anything they need to learn that it's not okay to roll in everything! Oakland isn’t “learning to cartwheel”, he’s doing what comes naturally. 

I suspect that the dog is uncomfortable in his shirt, and is rolling over at random. Some dogs are confused by tight shirts, and end up rolling around on the floor. 

Here’s my shelter dog friend Cheechoo doing something similar with his Thundershirt:

If anyone’s being cued in this video, it’s the kid, not the dog!

Monday, February 29, 2016

Dogs and Pitches

This video pops up every so often, as new groups find it and, um, chime in:

The claim is, this is a demonstration that dogs have “perfect pitch”. If that were true, the dogs would have to be choosing which keys to press based on which notes the trainer is playing. This would make playing the keys an instance of social learning.

Is this what’s happening? Probably not. The trainer is making a noise before she plays the note, and moving her flute to point at the keys. These are cues for the dogs to strike the keys. Also, there are elements of the tune that repeat, which means the dogs could have learned them in chunks, as a chain of behavior. Between the visual and verbal cues, the repetition and the cut in the video at 0:54...nope.

If you still need convincing, here’s a video of the same kind of performance, but without the flute: 

The concept of overshadowing suggests that it’s not likely that this time, the salient cue would be the pitched note, but other times the salient cue is the gesture and voice. 

So, it’s not "do as I do", so much as "do as I cue." Still an adorable feat, but not quite as advertised. 

Saturday, February 27, 2016

You're So Cute, I Could Just Eat You Up

Here’s a dog showing a “heartwarming bond” with an infant:

He's supposedly tucking the baby in, out of love. What would have to be the facts if this were really what was going on? 
  1. I love this tiny, smelly human that’s taking up all my owner’s time and attention. 
  2. I know that tucking in a baby is a way to show I care.
Is it likely that dogs have an intimate knowledge of the care of infant humans, and a comprehension of swaddling techniques? Not so much. This dog is indeed trying to cover the baby, but not out of love. More likely, he sees the baby as a high value resource and is trying to bury it using whatever’s nearest. This is caching. 

Caching behavior doesn’t necessarily mean the dog is consciously deciding he’s going to eat the baby. Caching is an instinctual reaction; once the dog has been triggered to perform the pattern of behaviors, he’ll do them right through to the end. Dogs can bury their toys as well as bones and chews; anything that’s worth saving for later is a possible candidate. Including, apparently, delicious babies. 

A Serious Note: Mistaking this kind of behavior for “nannying” is super dangerous. Babies and young children are disproportionately victims of bites from the family dog, and most of the time the parents never see it coming. Dogs should not be allowed to interact closely with babies and young children. Just don’t. 

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Dogs Don't Cry

This dog is supposed to be showing "tears of gratitude" after being rescued along with her puppies: 

Is this likely? I mean, I’d cry too if I were covered in demanding puppies and some dude shoved a camera in my face. But…biology says nope. Normally a dog’s tear ducts drain into the mouth, not down the faces. Even if they did cry when they were sad, we’d never notice, and all they’d get would be a mouthful of saline. 

The only reason a dog would have watery eyes - a condition called epiphora - is if there’s something medically wrong. Usually epiphora is caused by a something irritating the eye and blocking the tear ducts, whether that’s a foreign body, allergies, or an underlying medical condition like entropion. 

A Hump in the Road

Here’s a dog that’s supposed to be protecting his fallen comrade from vehicular danger: 

At first glance, this doesn’t seem too unlikely. After all, dogs do form relationships with one another, and have even been known to guard each other. That would kind of make this video true, right? 

However! If we look more closely, it becomes clear that this dog isn’t guarding at all. He’s humping. Right at the start we can see the tell-tale way he’s moving his hips. He’s not entirely got the whole “what goes where” question sorted, but that’s really a side-issue. 

This doesn’t necessarily mean the dog is actually trying to mate with roadkill, although it is a possibility. It could also be that dog is feeling really anxious and confused; something scary just happened, and now his companion isn’t moving. 

Humping is one of a suite of displacement behaviors we see when dogs are stressed about something they can’t escape from.  They’re the canine equivalent of picking our nails or chain smoking before a job interview. Not exactly noble, but understandable. 

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Distempo: The Saddest Dog on the Dancefloor

This video suggests that the laid-back Caribbean lifestyle even extends to dogs: 

Sadly, we’re not witnessing the birth of the first cross-species breakin’ crew here (if that’s ever going to happen, it’ll probably be with cockatoos, not dogs). This dog has myoclonus, a painful neurological condition that causes constant muscle spasms. The most common cause of myoclonus is the distemper virus, which is why pet dogs are vaccinated. Street dogs in Jamaica, not so lucky. Here’s another example, showing it for what it is. 

Even with that funky ragga music, the dog is having no fun at all. Its ears are pinned, it’s backing away, and despite the video quality you can see the whites of its eyes - all clear signals of stress. Chances are the dog wants to get the heck away from this weird pulsating man, but can’t because of the spasms. Just in case you weren’t miserable enough, y’know. 

Red Light, Green Light...Yeah, Right

In…a country, somewhere, there’s a street dog who can apparently follow traffic laws. 

This is an obvious nope. Traffic lights come in red and green. Dogs can see neither:

But wait! What if the dog is responding to the different position of the light, not the different colors? Still nope. Look at 0:42 - the dog gets up and starts to cross the street when the light is still red, but then a vehicle drives past. The light actually turns green immediately before the bus goes past, while the dog is still standing. This suggests it’s the flow of traffic that’s the salient cue here, not the light. Our hero is being eminently sensible, following the Muted-grey-with-a-bit-of-blue-and-yellow Cross Code, and waiting until there’s no traffic before crossing the street. 

Still pretty smart!

Original post: 

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Momma Chihuahua Buries Her Puppy

This chihuahua and her deceased puppy are being touted as examples of motherly love. 

Is momma chi paying respects to her dearly departed little one? Well, if that were true then…
  1. I am sad that my puppy has died.
  2. I believe the dead deserve respect.
  3. I'll show respect to poor lost puppykins by affording the little tyke a proper burial.

Likely? Observation says no. Mother dogs often eat their puppies that don't survive long after birth, sometimes when they're sick, and sometimes for seemingly no reason at all. Dogs don’t pay respects to the dead. Heck, my dog doesn’t even respect my desire not to be stared at while eating pizza.

Even if (1) and (2) were true, why would we think dogs would “respect” their dead by burying them? Do we see little doggie funerals, with little doggie pallbearers and bone-shaped wreaths? Nope.

The chihuahua is caching her puppy, not burying it. Caching means she is storing it for later. The video shows each phase of caching - first she carries the puppy around, looking for a good location, then she paws at the ground and drops the puppy there, then finally scoops and tamps the earth around it. This same pattern of behavior is observed in all canids. Cannibalism is also common in wolves. 

Dog Cries Over Grandma

Lockwood Animal Rescue Center, based in Ventura County CA, posted this video back in April 2013. It's still doing the rounds.

The dog’s name is Wiley, alternately described in the media as a malamute, “service wolf” and wolf-dog. He’s supposedly making that commotion because he’s sad that Gladys, a dear friend, is dead. This would mean:

  1. I understand that my Grandma Gladys is dead, and this makes me sad.
  2. I know this is where her memorial is, and this is triggering me to get upset.
  3. I’m expressing my sadness by weeping and crying.

We don’t know for sure whether dogs feel grief, but they almost certainly do. So (1) is okay. We also don’t know whether a dog could know their dead owner is in a cemetery - it’s a possibility, given their amazing sense of smell -  although there’s no way to know whether Gladys was buried or cremated. And, there’s the possibility that the dog’s handlers are giving him cues that this is the place, maybe they’re acting sad themselves. These unknowns are irrelevant, however, because we do know that dogs don’t cry and weep when they’re sad. They whine, pace, howl, refuse food, sleep excessively and bark, but they don’t need a Kleenex. 

What’s more likely is this dog is having some sort of breathing difficulty. It could be reverse-sneezing, or the aftermath of a seizure, or overheating, or a neck trauma. If dogs expressed their emotional torment in this way, chances are we’d see it all the time (especially in my dog, who becomes distraught when her favorite toy isn’t where she left it…). 

Can’t blame an animal shelter for exploiting an opportunity to go viral, but still: nope. 

Dog Tries To Save Fish Out Of Water (For Later)

A dog in Thailand was filmed splashing water over a large fish:

According to the Internet, the dog is trying to save the fish from a terrible fate. Such a heroic effort. The dog must understand that:
  1. Fish need water to live 
  2. This fish is dying 
  3. Fishie deserves to live! 
  4. I can save the fishie with this water! 

Does this sound reasonable? What does your dog usually do when confronted with a small creature? Offer it a helping paw, maybe? Contribute to its Kickstarter? Or chase it up the nearest tree, barking like a maniac? Yeah…nope. 

Rather than showing Dalai Lamaesque levels of compassion, this dog is performing a natural behavior called caching. Fish are tasty, albeit pungent morsels and this has caused the dog to go into a pre-programmed pattern of scooping and tamping, despite there being nothing to actually cover the fish with. 

The dog is trying to bury the fish with the water, and it’s probably very confused about why fishie is still right there where anyone can see. “Aren’t I doing a good job of burying fishie? I’m doing the thing with my nose and everything!” 

Not too smart, really. But very cute.