Posts tagged ‘music’

The Tell-Tale Hound

by the most excellent Louis Barabbas & the Bedlam Six

October 31, 2010 at 6:51 am 1 comment

OK Go – Obey!

Catchy tune + a pack of well trained dogs + brilliant choreography and video editing = major video WIN

We *heart* trained dogs

(H/T Rob)

September 20, 2010 at 3:02 pm 7 comments

Good Things

Still busy and somewhat lacking in inspiration so here’s a bit of linky goodness:

Lab Rat’s excellent diatribe on closed registries

Heather Houlahan on how to become a dog trainer

CarpeK9 on killing dogs

Lou Reed and his wife Laurie Anderson compose and play high frequency music for dogs

… and, just in case you needed it –

Further proof that squirrels are evil

May 18, 2010 at 10:54 pm 4 comments

Film for Friday

June 26, 2009 at 2:32 am Leave a comment

Shar Pei’s Got Talent?

Maybe not…

The bizarre-looking electronic instrument wailing like a mad cat trapped in a steel guitar as the dog walks by is called a theramin. Best known for providing eerie soundtrack music for scifi and horrormovies, the theramin was the first electronic musical instrument. Invented in Russia by Dr. Leon Theremin in 1920 – the theremin was the impetus for Robert Moog to create the Moog Synthesizer. It was also the inspiration for the Beach Boys’  Good Vibrations.

Created while Dr. Theremin was conducting research on proximity sensors for the Soviet government, the theremin creates sound using a pair of metal antennas that sense the position of the player’s hands. Frequency (pitch) is controlled with one hand and amplitude (volume) with the other.

The theremin is described as being extremely easy to use – but fiendishly difficult to master. Jazz musician Pamelia Kursten is one of the rare people who have mastered it.  Be sure to stick around long enough to listen to the walking bass rendition in the middle of the piece.

Vodpod videos no longer available.
more about “Pamela Kurstin performs ‘Autumn Leave…“, posted with vodpod







June 3, 2009 at 1:51 pm Leave a comment

Telling Tails of Aggression

This week’s Misguided Science Award goes to researchers at the University of Victoria who used a robotic dog to study how long versus short or docked tails affect canine behavior. 

The study concluded that dogs approach a dog with a docked tail more cautiously than they do a dog with a ‘complete’ tail.  According to one researcher, this could make a dog with a docked tail more aggressive. 

Their findings were based on a series of observations regarding how dogs at a dog park approached the robotic dog when it was fitted with a long or short tail.  The robotic tail wagged on some trials and stood up stiff in others. 


First, I am absolutely flabbergasted that anyone would consider that dogs’ reactions to an obviously fake, robotic dog represent valid data on dog-dog behavior.  I am certain that even the most sheltered, apartment-dwelling city dogs innately understand the difference between real and robotic dogs.  And in most cases they’re not going to react the same way to a robotic dog that they will to a real one. 

Second, it does not appear that the group conducted an initial study of how dogs with long and short tails (remember, not all short tails are artificially docked) wag them in different situations.

I’ve spent a lot of time watching dogs interact with each other.  In my experience, short-tailed dogs don’t just wag their stubby little tails when they’re happy and excited.  They typically wiggle the whole rear half of their bodies. 

Tail-wagging doesn’t always indicate happiness or friendliness.  Generally speaking, it indicates arousal.  The soft, slow wag of a lowered tail can indicate calm interest.  The rapid, loose wagging of a tail held at mid level (combined with a butt wiggle in a short-tailed dog) may indicate excited, friendly anticipation.  Rapid, stiff, wagging of an erect tail generally indicates intent arousal – and may precede an aggressive response. 

So, when robo-dog wagged what was very likely a short, stiff, erect, electronic tail he may have been communicating a weird, artificial kind of aggressive intent.  I don’t find it the least bit strange that dogs avoided robo-dog or behaved in an antisocial manner toward him if that was the situation. 

When robo-dog wagged a long tail at mid-height (especially if that long tail was constructed in a way that allowed it to flex as it wagged) he communicated an odd but friendly demeanor.  I would expect confident, social dogs to approach a ‘thing’ that behaved that way to investigate it.

In neither case do I believe that the dogs studied mistook robo-dog for a real dog.

As you can probably guess based on what I’ve written here, I don’t for a minute believe that having a short or docked tail predisposes a dog toward behaving aggressively toward other dogs. 

I have a different theory.  Check out the video below for frightening footage of a short-tailed dog demonstrating some extremely aggressive behavior:

Did docking his tail make this Airedale wire-haired fox terrier violently aggressive – or was it an owner who forced the poor beast to listen to death metal music that sent him over the edge?

Studies have indicated that listening to classical music, panpipes and whale songs may have a calming effect on dogs.  Is it then a stretch to suggest that exposure to gangsta rap, death metal and the music of Richard Wagner could turn them to violence?

Are the vicious pibbles and rockwilders we hear so much about in the media innately hostile beasts – or have they been ruined because their owners exposed them to too much teevee violence and musical mayhem?

It’s food for thought…. 

March 24, 2008 at 9:48 pm 9 comments

Do You Hear What I Hear?

Actually, I can’t hear a thing on this video and I’m pretty sure you won’t either.  According to the folks at the New Zealand Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the soundtrack was recorded at an ultra high frequency that dogs can hear but humans (even teenaged ones) can’t.

It’s kind of a cute idea and proceeds from sales of the CD go to support the NZSPCA, but my dogs rated it four paws down.  Even young Audie, who responds to whispered commands, had no interest in it whatsoever when I played it right in front of his face.  I also asked my 18-year old neighbor to check it out. She agree that it was cute, but admitted she couldn’t hear it as well.

If you want to know more about the video and CD, check out this article from the UK’s Telegraph:

As a break from the slick, high-tech production of the NZSPCA video, I decided the have the dogs review a simpler, must more low tech video designed for dogs that I also found posted on YouTube.  They ADORED this one. In fact, both Zip and Audie jumped up into my lap to get a better look at the screen shortly after it started.  The beasties cocked their little heads and peered intently at the speakers every time the title was repeated on this little gem:

February 15, 2008 at 8:05 pm 2 comments

Because A Dog’s Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste


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