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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

testing colors, a follow up on how dogs see


Recently I wrote on my blog about seeing the world through your dog’s eyes and how they see color. At the end I put a little experiment that I found on petplace.com for you to try with a blue, green, and red item. Did you try it?


Well, I  did and although I am sure I still have a long way to go and I will eventually take it further, I was impressed with how long, or should I say short of a time it took to teach my Golden Retriever Casey the word blue, and how quickly he picked the blue towel out of the other two colors.

To start, I first had to teach him what object I considered to be blue and put a name and command to it. I picked towels because I have many different color drool cloths for my Newfs, but it should work with any colored items. When you view the video you may think, “Of course he'll get the towel because  it is the only thing on the floor!" Casey however, loves to pull garments out of my laundry basket (which was nearby), pull pillows off my bed, as well as grab any shoe he may see lying on the floor, so for him to go to the towel and disregard my bed and the laundry basket was no easy task.

In the beginning you will see him sit, speak (bark), raise his paw, and do a little dance to get a treat. He gives it his best and tries them all to see which will work, but when none earn him a treat, he then becomes more consistent with getting the blue towel and realizes that, "This is what I must do to get the treat."  But wait, soon there is more than just one towel! What's a dog to do?

After mixing in the green and then later the red towel I was again impressed with how quickly he picked it up. At one point he had picked up a mouthful of towels that had been in a pile in front of him, then dropped them to the floor and searched among them for the blue towel. Luck? Maybe. I am going to continue this as long as Casey will allow and see where this takes us. If you have tried this at home please let me know how you made out.

. The video I took of this training is about 6- 8 minutes which is all the time it took for Casey to figure out what I wanted from him. There is a bit of barking especially in the beginning as he tries to figure out what I want, but if you have the patience to make it through his barking, you’ll see him pick up the blue towel when asked. If you don’t have the patience to watch it all, well, then you probably should not have a dog!

All the towels came fresh from my recently washed laundry basket that had been brought up just the day before, so there would have been no difference in smell.
Do I have the smartest Golden in the world or what? I bet he would have made a great assistance dog!

To view a video of Casey doing the above click here

To view the original blog article on how dogs see color click here.

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