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Wonder What Your Pup is Thinking

Published on September 2016 | Categories: Types, Magazines/Newspapers | Downloads: 82 | Comments: 0

Pet ownership is at an all-time high, and spending on animals has been increasing steadily despite a recession. Pet psychics may just be the new normal.




Wonder What Your Pup Is Thinking?

Newsweek: Pets are increasingly seen as part of the family, so more owners are looking to pet psychics & therapists for insight into their lives. Your dog may be taking advantage of you Study: All dogs imitate their owners

http://www.msnbc.msn.com | Maurijones J. de Albuquerque


What’s Your Pooch Thinking?
Pet ownership is at an all-time high, and spending on animals has been increasing steadily despite a recession. Pet psychics may just be the new normal.

Pet Psychic: Paul the Octopus is Unhappy
NEWSWEEK visited an animal medium to find out what celebrity animals are thinking and feeling, including Bo Obama and Paul, the octopus now famous for predicting World Cup matches. Download the video as a podcast for your portable device: http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/newsweekvideo/id88000805

As Spaniards respectfully pass on the calamari in honor of Paul the Octopus, who predicted the country’s World Cup win, people all over the world are becoming more curious and determined to figure out exactly what it is animals are thinking.
http://www.msnbc.msn.com | Maurijones J. de Albuquerque


“Horses are the most gossipy,” says Lisa Greene, a pet psychic from Houston. “They’ll always tell me everything that’s going on in the barn. Snakes usually have a pretty bizarre sense of humor. And rodents like to spell for me.” Recently on the schedule: a reading for a whale. With pet ownership at an all-time high, and spending on animals increasing steadily despite a recession, the progression from providing our family pets a comfortable goose-down feather bed to wanting to know what is going on in their little heads seems natural. Although the American Pet Products Association keeps no data about animal psychics specifically, it attributes spending on pets’ well-being during a recession to an increasing humanization of animals. “I think it’s that more people are owning pets, and more people are treating their pets like a part of the family,” says Alison Anderson, an APPA spokesperson. “Products keep getting stranger.”

Gallery of extreme gadgets for your pets.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com | Maurijones J. de Albuquerque


Modern Pet-cessories Americans spent a total of $45.5 billion in 2009 on their animals. That was up 5.4 percent from 2008. Such booming services as massage therapy, antidepressant treatment, and grief counseling account for the increase. An annual
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study by the APPA noted that “pet services continues to be a growing category as they become more closely modeled after those offered to people.” So it stands to reason, perhaps, that pet communicators who can help us know what our little friends are thinking are a relatively easy find these days. Greene, who has worked as a pet psychic for just over 10 years, may, in a busy week, receive anywhere from 15 to 40 calls. “Not all the animals want to talk to me,” she says. “I have some animals flip me the paw.” She considers her services a luxury item, with rates of $120 for an hourlong telephone consultation during which she speaks with the owner, who asks her questions to communicate psychically to the animal, and $240 for in-home/in-barn treatment. And while clients have more typically been women, Greene has noticed a change. Recently cowboys have begun to call her to ask about their horses. “These are good ol’ boys from Texas,” she says. “You wouldn’t think they would call a pet psychic. It changes the way they compete and train. “The majority of people call because they have a problem,” she says. “They’re not getting along, or [their animals] have a health issue. A lot of times people call because their animals are dying.” “A lot of it’s curiosity,” says Susan Hoffman Peacock, a dressage instructor and ranch owner in Corona, Calif. “It’s justification for what you’re doing with the animals on a daily basis, and to see if there’s any way you can get more information.” For nearly two decades she has had animal communicator Lydia Hilby visit her barn to tell her what the horses are thinking. “I think most people go with the idea [that] if anything comes out of it, [it] may be useful.”

http://www.msnbc.msn.com | Maurijones J. de Albuquerque


Gallery of the history of Greek protest dogs.

She remembers Hilby interacting with one horse that had a pinched nerve in its neck, a condition about which, she says, the psychic had no way of knowing. “She said, ‘He said he doesn’t need surgery, and he can, most of the time, feel his right front foot, and he’s fine.’ ” Peacock tells favorite stories about one horse admitting he preferred a purple saddle blanket with gold trim, and another confessing that he had stolen a lollipop from a child.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com | Maurijones J. de Albuquerque


“I don’t think most people expect a psychic to change everything you do with your horse,” she says. “You’re hoping to get some little piece of information that might help out.” Rebecca Johnson, director of the Research Center for Human-Animal Interaction at the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine, works to facilitate healthy relationships between humans and animals. She understands communication across species in somewhat different terms. She speaks of “reading signals effectively,” and remaining alert to subtle cues: tension in an animal’s body, a lowering of its head, its ears going back. “Animals are communicating through pheromones,” Johnson says. “Veterinarians can use their sense of smell—we use our eyes and ears, our sense of touch. Animals are communicating a lot of the time, but we simply can’t speak their language.” She agrees that we have much to learn about our pets, but through attentiveness to behavior rather than efforts to translate their thoughts. And she finds the humanization of pets extremely common and increasingly problematic. “Part of the reason pets are attractive to us is people think of them like babies,” she says. “They have round, big eyes, and they have a limited capacity for intellect—they’re more like children. But I think that we do a disservice to animals when we try to make them more like us.” Shira Plotzker, a pet psychic in Nyack, N.Y., does not need to see, hear, smell, or feel an animal to do her work—she can use a photograph, or even a phone call. She says she hears animals as clearly as people, often in excitable, little voices. One young horse allegedly said to Plotzker: “Tell mommy I want to learn do a curtsey! I see all the other horses doing it because they do dressage!” Said a dog: “I want to go to Grandma’s! Grandma feeds me eggs!” Owners marvel at such specifics. “It gives people a bond,” says Plotzker, “or a deeper love.” Often clients approach her after their pet has died. One grieving woman said recently that she “didn’t want to talk about the dog,” she wanted to talk “with the dog.”

http://www.msnbc.msn.com | Maurijones J. de Albuquerque


Sometimes even scientists believe. About a year ago, Dr. Aleda Chen, a veterinarian in Randolph, N.J., became a client of Plotzker’s after meeting the psychic at a pet expo. “Wait!” Plotzker told her, “I’m going into psychic mode.” “It was about my horse,” says Chen. “She said that my horse was coming through, my horse who had passed away. And that he thanked me for being who I was and how I treated him, and that there was nothing that I could have done, and it was the tumor he had in his head. And I thought, huh. She couldn’t have known that.” Did it make her cry? “Yes. It was so sad,” Chen says. “It was very sad. But it was a nice kind of closure. It’s reassurance for the owner that they’re doing the right thing.”

http://www.msnbc.msn.com | Maurijones J. de Albuquerque


Dogs sneak food when we're not looking
'Duh!' dog owners may say, but new finding should not be taken lightly
By Jennifer Viegas
updated 7/27/2010 3:09:07 PM ET

If a dog's eyes appear to be riveted to you and your sandwich the next time you try to enjoy lunch, consider the clever, strategical intent of your rapt viewer. That's because new research has just demonstrated dogs quietly sneak food when we're not looking, waiting for the perfect opportunity to bite, steal and nosh. Before every dog owner and lover reading this comments, "Duh! I knew that already," the finding is not to be taken lightly. The research, published in the latest issue of Applied Animal Behaviour Science, adds to the growing body of evidence that dogs possess theory of mind, the ability to attribute mental states to oneself and others. In other words, dogs can likely perceive what we see and know, allowing them to take advantage of us when opportunity arises. "Stains," a dog featured on Animal Planet, has mastered the approach, as this video shows. Shannon Kundey of Maryland's Hood College and colleagues tested the phenomenon out in a more structured, scientific way on 20 dogs. To do this, they gave the dogs the opportunity to take food from one of two containers. "These containers were located within the proximity of a human gatekeeper who was either looking straight ahead or not looking at the time of choice," explained the scientists. "One container was silent when food was inserted or removed while the other was noisy." The vast majority of the dogs approached the silent container that was being pseudo ignored by the person.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com | Maurijones J. de Albuquerque


The researchers then adjusted the experiment to see how dogs would react if the food container was noisy yet was still ignored by the nearby "gatekeeper," or if the dogs weren't particularly quiet when grabbing the snack.

This owner doesn't mind sharing with a dog named "Charley."

According to the scientists, the "dogs preferentially attempted to retrieve food silently only when silence was germane to obtaining food unobserved by the human gatekeeper. Interestingly, dogs sourced from a local animal shelter evidenced similar outcomes." This latter finding "conflicts with other recent data suggesting that shelter dogs perform more poorly than pet dogs in tasks involving human social cues," writes Kundey and her team.

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Aside from giving some props to shelter dogs, the study suggests that the food nabbing skills aren't necessarily learned through repeated experience. The sneakiness may have evolved in wolves, the ancestors to dogs, and could therefore have genetic components. We humans may also have an inborn drive to take food away from our dinner mates when they aren't looking. Have you ever grabbed a French fry, piece of sushi, or some other small, yet tempting, item when a friend or relative has left the table? Admittedly, I did that the other night. Sorry, Grace. The fried won-ton on your plate was good.

Copyright © 2010 Discovery Communications, LLC. The leading global real world media and entertainment company.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com | Maurijones J. de Albuquerque


Dogs automatically imitate people
Some dogs may look like their owners, but all dogs imitate their human companions
By Jennifer Viegas
updated 7/28/2010 9:35:53 AM ET

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, dogs often shower us with praise. New research has just determined dogs automatically imitate us, even when it is not in their best interest to do so. The study, published in the latest Proceedings of the Royal Society B, provides the first evidence that dogs copy at least some of our body movements and behaviors in ways that are spontaneous and voluntary.

The scientists suggest owners would do well to match their own body movements, whenever possible, to tasks at hand during training sessions.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com | Maurijones J. de Albuquerque


In other words, they can't really help themselves when it comes to copying people. "This suggests that, like humans, dogs are subject to 'automatic imitation'; they cannot inhibit online, the tendency to imitate head use and/or paw use," lead author Friederike Range and her colleagues conclude. It's long been known that humans do this, even when the tendency to copy interferes with efficiency. "For example," according to the researchers, "if people are instructed to open their mouths as soon as they see the letters 'OM' appear on a screen, responses are slower when the letters are accompanied by an image of an opening hand than when they are accompanied by an image of an opening mouth." In a scientific first, Range — a University of Vienna researcher in the Department of Cognitive Biology — and her team tested this phenomenon on dogs. Ten adult dogs of various breeds and their owners, from Austria, participated in the experiments. All of the dogs received preliminary training to open a sliding door using their head or a paw. The dogs then watched their owners open the door by hand or by head. For the latter, the owner would get down on the floor and use his or her head to push up or down on the sliding door. The dogs were next divided into two groups. Dogs in the first group received a food reward whenever they copied what the owner did. Dogs in the second group received a food reward when they did the opposite. All of the dogs were inclined to copy what the owner did, even if it meant receiving no food reward. "This finding suggests that the dogs brought with them to the experiment a tendency automatically to imitate hand use and/or paw use by their owner; to imitate these actions even when it was costly to do so," the authors report.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com | Maurijones J. de Albuquerque


The scientists suggest owners would do well to match their own body movements, whenever possible, to tasks at hand during training sessions. For example, if an owner is trying to teach a dog to shake "hands," the person might have more success if he stretched out his own hand to demonstrate. The observing dog would then be inclined to stretch out a paw, mirroring what the human did. At that point, a food reward could be offered to the dog, reinforcing the behavior. The owner is reinforcing bonding and cooperation with the dog, too. "Researchers have known that human beings prefer the behavior of other people who subtly imitate their gestures and other affects," said Duane Alexander, M.D., director of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child and Human Development. Alexander worked on another study showing that non-human primates automatically imitate each other. Certain birds do this, too, but it may be very rare in the animal kingdom for one species to almost subconsciously imitate the behavior of a completely different species. The dog-human bond may therefore have few, if any, parallels. "Dogs are special animals, both in terms of their evolutionary history of domestication and the range and intensity of their developmental training by humans," Range and her team explain. "Both of these factors may enhance the extent to which dogs attend to human activity," they added, "but the results of the present experiment suggest it is the latter — training in the course of development — which plays the more powerful and specific role in shaping their imitative behavior."

Copyright © 2010 Discovery Communications, LLC. The leading global real world media and entertainment company.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com | Maurijones J. de Albuquerque


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