03 April 2014

Magic and Dogs - Give Pups a Hug!

This is more sleight of hand and dogs than 'magic' and dogs but it's interesting to see how the dogs react. Dogs are born with an innate ability to understand gestures (especially pointing with your hand or arm) and they use your gaze to infer information and determine their course of action.*

If you are training a dog you shouldn't wear sunglasses because they obscure your face, and dogs use that information to make decisions. (It would be like taking a quiz with frustratingly vague questions.) You can see the behavior clearly here: Treat disappears and the dog looks at the magician / 'mentalist' for a hint. Then a lot of other interesting stuff happens, depending on the dog. Those say as much about the dogs temperament and the owner as they do about the dogs themselves.

* They tested this in the lab and animals you would expect to understand a gaze and gesture, such as chimpanzees, had no idea that the information was relevant. Untrained dogs knew. Evolution is awesome.  

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