EXTREME PERCEPTION AND ANIMAL INTELLIGENCE

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  • Topic: Human, Dog, Apex predator
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  • Published : April 23, 2013
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EXTREME PERCEPTION AND ANIMAL INTELLIGENCE
Many animals also have extreme perception. Forensic dogs are three times as good as any X-ray machine at sniffing out contraband, drugs, or explosives, and their overall success rate on tests is 90 percent. The fact that a dog can smell things a person can't doesn't make him a genius; it just makes him a dog. Humans can see things dogs can't, but that doesn't make us smarter. But when you look at the jobs some dogs have invented for them­selves using their advanced perceptual abilities, you're moving into the realm of true cognition, which is solving a problem under novel conditions. The seizure alert dogs are an example of an animal using advanced perceptual abilities to solve a problem no dog was born knowing how to solve. Seizure alert dogs are dogs who, their owners say, can predict a seizure before it starts. There's still controversy over whether you can train dog to predict seizures, and so far peo­ple haven't had a lot of luck trying. But there are a number of dogs who have figured it out on their own. These dogs were trained as seizure-response dogs, meaning they can help a person once a seizure has begun. The dog might be trained to lie on top of the person so he doesn't hurt himself, or bring the person his medicine or the telephone. Those are all standard helpful behaviors any dog can be trained to perform. But some of these dogs have gone from responding to seizures to perceiving signs of a seizure ahead of time. No one knows how they do this,because the signs are invisible to people.No human being can look at someone who's about to have a seizure and see (or hear, smell, or feel) what's coming. Yet one study found that 10 percent of owners said their seizure response dogs had turned into seizure alert dogs. The New York Times published a terrific article about a woman named Connie Standley, in Florida, who has two huge Bouvier des Flandres dogs who predict her seizures about thirty minutes...
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