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Squirrel! Dog MRI study reveals canines really CAN understand some of what their owners say

Daily Mail - Science & tech

While many dogs owners think their pets really do understand them, a new study has found they really do have a'rudimentary' understands of words. It could help explain the'squirrel phenomenon' where dogs instantly perk up, become agigated and even start hunting for squirrels when their owner tells them one is close by. However, researchers have been unclear what is actually happening in the canine brain - and how much they really understand. Eddie, a golden retriever-Labrador mix, was part of the study, along with his toys Piggy and Monkey. For the study, 12 dogs of varying breeds were trained for months by their owners to retrieve two different objects, based on the objects' names.


STACY WASHINGTON Most Americans get it: Firearms mean freedom

FOX News

This is what a recent Pew Research poll discovered in a deep dive into the complex relationship Americans have with guns. According to the poll, "The nationally representative survey of 3,930 U.S. adults, including 1,269 gun owners, was conducted March 13 to 27 and April 4 to 18, 2017, using the Pew Research Center's American Trends Panel." In other words, the survey is pretty comprehensive. And its findings reflect the understanding of many clear-thinking Americans on the 2nd Amendment: for those who do own and use firearms, it is integral to who they are. Guns are ubiquitous in our culture.


Google Homes turn on en masse

FOX News

Something odd happened around the country while the Super Bowl commercial for the Google Home speaker ran on TVs everywhere. The ad, which showed loving families using the smart home speaker for listening to music and turning on and off the lights, also managed to set off Google Homes in the real world, surprising their owners. Google Home owners quickly ran to Twitter to explain that since the advertisement features someone saying "Okay, Google," their Home units were activated at the same time. These users had no recourse but to let this happen, as Google's speaker offers no option to set a different wake phrase. Some owners of Amazon's Echo, Dot and Tap speakers may be familiar with this moment, as a TV news report in San Diego once triggered the Alexa-based speakers to order dollhouses.


Scientists confirm what pet owners already know: Dogs understand us.

Christian Science Monitor | Science

Dog lovers already know that a kindly word means a lot to the family pet, but researchers now understand why. The amazing communication between humans and man's best friend has been the subject of scientific work for years, as dogs have had thousands of years to learn what their owners want and mean. Research in 2014 showed dogs rely on intonation to separate speech components, allowing them to understand what owners mean by, "Let's go for a walk," but that study could not show how the speech was being processed in the canine brain. New research from Hungary, published in the journal Science, studied the brain activity of dogs as they interpreted human speech. Scientists found the canine brain processes speech using both sides of the brain: The meaning of words activates the left side of the brain, while the tone goes through the right hemisphere.


Experts train border collie to learn the name of 90 different toys and fetch them on request

Daily Mail - Science & tech

The clever canine has learned to differentiate between balls, Frisbees, rings, or ropes -- and can even categorise new toys into these groups. When the researchers first met Whisky, she already knew the name of 59 toys, but her owners say that she has now learnt around 31 more. Whisky may have a little way to go before she breaks the all-time record for the cleverest dog, however. Fellow border collie Chaser, of South Carolina -- who was owned by psychologist John Pilley -- is said to have learnt more than 1,000 words before she died last year. 'At first it was hard for me to believe that a dog learned the name of so many toys, but after several days of rigorous testing, I had to change my mind,' says Claudia Fugazza of the Eötvös Loránd University in Hungary.