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KurtNYC Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-30-05 11:29 AM
Original message
Dogs that can read (link to video)
My friend works for these guys. They raise and train assistance dogs. These dogs are NOT primarily seeing-eye dogs but rather are trained for a variety of roles. He told me they could train a 9-month old lab 90 verbal commands and I believed him. He said 3-month old pups could turn lights off and on, etc.

But then he told me they had trained dogs to read! I didn't believe it...



Amazing footage from the link in the middle of this page:
http://www.assistancedog.org/college/our_research.html

This is not a trick. Watch the trainer stand perfectly still and give no physical cues. The director of the institute believes that there is virtually no limit to what these dogs can do; there is a limit to what we can teach.
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RebelOne Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-30-05 11:57 AM
Response to Original message
1. That is amazing.
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Az Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-30-05 12:03 PM
Response to Original message
2. Although I am not one to question dog's intelligence
I am by nature a skeptic. And while there is no movement of the woman that we are aware of there can be quite a range of cues that she could be giving with her eyes that the dog can pick up on.

A proper test would have someone unfamiliar with the dog holding the card and unable to see what the card refered to.
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Orsino Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-30-05 12:21 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. Yep. Another Clever Hans.
A controlled test would show that it ain't the writing that the dog responds to.
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KurtNYC Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-30-05 12:30 PM
Response to Reply #3
5. This isn't some magic trick
This isn't the horse "doing math" by pounding one hoof repeatedly until the trainer gives him the covert stop signal.

In your theory, what is the dog responding to ?

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Orsino Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-30-05 01:23 PM
Response to Reply #5
9. As an earlier post notes...
Edited on Fri Sep-30-05 01:36 PM by Orsino
...there are many, many possible cues: eye, face, and body movements, tone of voice, or even smells (the last is just a guess, but it may be that we give off a special odor when a dog successfully performs a trick).

I suspect that the big signs with words are, intentionally or not, misdirection on a par with that used in stage magic. It may be tempting to believe that dogs can read, but their minds are geared more toward reading the body language of their pack members. They are very, very good at that.

Only a properly controlled, double-blind experiment could tell us for sure. I won't completely rule out the possibility of a dog's recognizing certain letter shapes, but I will guarantee that he isn't reading words.
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RebelOne Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-30-05 12:24 PM
Response to Original message
4. Believe me, dogs can even be taught to spell.
My now-deceased Rottie would go into a frenzy whenever she heard the words Walk and Ride. So I would spell them if I used the words in a conversation. Well, she soon picked up on that. She knew exactly what I was spelling. Don't tell me dogs are dumb.
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DS1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-30-05 12:37 PM
Response to Original message
6. utter bunk bullshit
the "reading" point was a farce. the dog laid down, as it's been trained to if it's already sitting. then edit to dog instead of laying down but laying down on its side.
the rest is any trainable event.
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KurtNYC Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-30-05 12:53 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. Yes - damn those charlatan non-profits!
They have helped hundred of disabled people and now they go and destroy their reputation by faking this reading thing!

:sarcasm:
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BikeWriter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-30-05 01:10 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. It's an evil conspiracy of the dog interests, I tell you!!!
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DS1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-30-05 01:25 PM
Response to Reply #7
10. That video didn't prove a damn thing
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KurtNYC Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-30-05 01:48 PM
Response to Reply #10
11. The video is edited
between the segments and it may not prove the case to your satisfaction but Dr. Bonita Bergen would have had to fool dozens of other experts in person in live demos and in peer-reviewed publications for your "bullshit" theory to be correct.

This is from the Indiana Service and Assistance Dogs org:

Dr. Bonita Bergin pioneered the concept of service dogs and founded Canine Companions for Independence and The Assistance Dog Institute. She is also the recipient of Oprah Winfreys Use Your Life Award. She has spent years studying how dogs learn and applying that knowledge when training dogs to assist individuals with disabilities. With her extraordinary understanding of how dogs learn she has literally taught dogs to read.

Vouching for Bergen's credibility and expertise are:
Warren Patitz, PhD. training instructor with special interest in canine behavior,
Jamie Young, DVM PhD. revealing the keys to positive training



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DS1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-30-05 01:55 PM
Response to Reply #11
12. It's not reading, it's image recognition
I downloaded the 'read' cards, and they are all carefully selected words which vary greatly along the top halves of the words - which is where humans read.

SIT
ROLL
GO TO BED

and so on

I'd be willing to bet that if you taught a dog WALK

and then substituted it with TALK it wouldn't recognize the T and see it as WALK - but would probably go for a walk based on the last three letters.

Saying these dogs can read is totally false.
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KurtNYC Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-30-05 02:06 PM
Response to Reply #12
14. Reading IS image recognition
And IMHO believing that everyone (including dog experts) but you is gullible is false.

Humans generally read by recognizing the shapes of words. Words in mixed case, upper and lower case rather than all caps, are easier to read for that reason. And as an earlier thread discussed, the letters in the middle of words can be out of order and the word is still recognizable. So at a basic level it would seem that dogs can be taught to read in the same way humans do -- by recognizing the image.
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DS1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-30-05 02:18 PM
Response to Reply #14
15. There's a difference between recognizing a pattern in pre-built
words and recognizing each letter, what it sounds like, and how it applies.

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KurtNYC Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-30-05 02:43 PM
Response to Reply #15
20. But that is not how we actually read
we aren't 'reading' words like the following phonetically, we are recognizing them:
of
does
weight
(vs. wait)

None of those words would read phonetically the way we actually say them. So we are recognizing a word and saying it. Eg. the rules of spelling ('i before e' etc) are so horribly flawed that they aren't rules at all. We just recognize them. We memorize the way words are spelled because the relationship between the sound or a word and its spelling is rather arbitrary.
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BikeWriter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-30-05 02:26 PM
Response to Reply #12
18. WTF is the difference between recognizing...
verbal commands and written commands? Not a hell of a lot, IMO.
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DS1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-30-05 02:32 PM
Response to Reply #18
19. I didn't say anything about verbal commands
but I am differentiating between learning a number of words is different than first learning the letters then understanding how the letters form a word. Koko can form sentences, these dogs are - like you said - learning the same simple set of commands in a different format. Color me completely unimpressed.
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BikeWriter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-30-05 02:44 PM
Response to Reply #19
21. I'll agree with you there.
Edited on Fri Sep-30-05 02:44 PM by BikeWriter
I don't believe they are "hooked on phonics."
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BikeWriter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-30-05 02:22 PM
Response to Reply #10
16. Of course not, it's a right wing plot!
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Jamastiene Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-30-05 02:01 PM
Response to Original message
13. They can spell too. I had a poodle who knew who
e-l-l-e-n was (his groomer) and what a l-e-a-s-h was. We'd spell leash and he'd go get it. 'Tis true.
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RebelOne Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-30-05 02:23 PM
Response to Reply #13
17. That's true. I had a Rottie that could spell. See my post above.
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miss_kitty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-30-05 02:50 PM
Response to Original message
22. Who knew?
:popcorn:

I'll have Stella go grab her snack herself
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Jamastiene Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-30-05 03:29 PM
Response to Reply #22
23. Wow, is there a GD bug catching over here or what? n/t
Edited on Fri Sep-30-05 03:29 PM by Jamastiene
:popcorn:
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