Dogs Learn to Commute by Train to Find Food

I know this story was published awhile ago, but I just discovered it via the I Fucking Love Science Facebook page…although the story was originally published by Virginia Wheeler of The Sun.  I love the pictures because the pups are adorable – and the one in the photos looks surprisingly German Shepherd-like (and we all know how smart they are!)  But what is more interesting is how the homeless dogs have “learned” how to commute to the cities by taking the train in search of food.  They know which stop to get off on to find the best location for food and have been seen ‘playing’ while riding.  It’s a pretty amazing “tail” – and yet again I’m thoroughly impressed with the intelligence of the creature we call Man’s Best Friend.

Wild dogs take Chewbilee Line 

Canine commuter ... wild dog waits on the platform

Canine commuter … wild dog waits on the platform VIRGINIA WHEELER Last Updated: 12th January 2011

STRAY dogs are commuting to and from a city centre on underground trains in search of food scraps.

The clever canines board the Tube each morning.

After a hard day scavenging and begging on the streets, they hop back on the train and return to the suburbs where they spend the night.

Experts studying the dogs say they even work together to make sure they get off at the right stop — after learning to judge the length of time they need to spend on the train.

The mutts choose the quietest carriages at the front and back of the train.

They have also developed tactics to hustle humans into giving them more food on the streets of Moscow.

Well train-ed ... dog enjoys a nap on the underground

Well train-ed … dog enjoys a nap on the underground

Scientists believe the phenomenon began after the Soviet Union collapsed in the 1990s, and Russia’s new capitalists moved industrial complexes from the city centre to the suburbs.

Dr Andrei Poiarkov, of the Moscow Ecology and Evolution Institute, said: “These complexes were used by homeless dogs as shelters, so the dogs had to move together with their houses. Because the best scavenging for food is in the city centre, the dogs had to learn how to travel on the subway — to get to the centre in the morning, then back home in the evening, just like people.

Dog tired ... mutt kips on tube seat in Moscow

Dog tired … mutt kips on tube seat in Moscow

Dr Poiarkov told how the dogs like to play during their daily commute. He said: “They jump on the train seconds before the doors shut, risking their tails getting jammed. They do it for fun. And sometimes they fall asleep and get off at the wrong stop.

The dogs have learned to use traffic lights to cross the road safely, said Dr Poiarkov. And they use cunning tactics to obtain tasty morsels of shawarma, a kebab-like snack popular in Moscow.

They sneak up behind people eating shawarmas — then bark loudly to shock them into dropping their food.

With children the dogs “play cute” by putting their heads on youngsters’ knees and staring pleadingly into their eyes to win sympathy — and scraps.

Dr Poiarkov added: “Dogs are surprisingly good psychologists.

The Moscow mutts are not the first animals to use public transport. In 2006 a Jack Russell in Dunnington, North Yorks, began taking the bus to his local pub in search of sausages.

And two years ago passengers in Wolverhampton were stunned when a cat called Macavity started catching the 331 bus to a fish and chip shop.

Article found @ http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/2372125/Wild-dogs-that-commute-from-suburbs-to-scavenge-in-city.html#ixzz2R2KHVCCw

Your Dog’s Seatbelt Won’t Save It’s Life

I just read a great article about dog seat belts that every dog owner should read thoroughly.  Think your pup’s safety harness will protect him or her in a car accident.  You are WRONG.  The purpose of most pet seat belts is to prevent the pet from distracting the driver.  In other words, to stop your dog from leaping into your lap while you are driving 60 mph – as Beau has been known to do.  Unfortunately, most dog owners buy seat belts thinking that they are protecting their pet… The good news is that there are some promising ones out there (like the Sleepypod Clickit) and more are being developed.  In my opinion – any seat belt is better than no seat belt. What do you think?  Does your pet wear a seat belt?

Dog Harnesses | Pet Restraint Safety – Consumer Reports News – here’s the full article as well:

Dog harnesses for cars may not be as safe as you think 

Study finds many vehicle pet restraints are inadequate in crash tests 

Published: October 07, 2013 04:15 PM

Despite good intentions, many owners who are buckling up their dogs may not be using a harness that will keep the animals or passengers safe. Serious flaws were found with many popular car pet restraints in a new study by the Center for Pet Safety (CPS) and Subaru. Only one pet restraint, the Sleepypod Clickit Utility Harness, was able to offer adequate protection to the dog and the passengers of the vehicle, earning it a top score for crash protection.

More than 43 million households own a dog, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), and most pooches need to be transported in vehicles, whether for a trip to the vet or a family vacation. To understand the safety that restraints can provide in an accident, the CPS looked at systems that manufacturers claimed were tested, crash tested, or have crash protection, and they designed the test based on FMVSS 213 standard, which is the procedure currently used to certify child safety seats..

The CPS purchased a variety of harnesses and the testing occurred in two phases. Each harness was first subjected to a preliminary strength test and if the harness remained intact during the strength test, it would continue on to the crash test portion of the evaluation. Of the 11 harnesses that claim crash protection, only seven passed the initial strength portion of the test and therefore qualified for the crash test evaluation. The systems were tested using specially designed crash test dummy dogs in three sizes: a 25 lb. Terrier mix, a 45 lb. Border Collie, and a 75 lb. Golden Retriever. The organization will use the data to help develop standards for performance and test protocols of restraint systems, since there are currently no such industry guidelines.

The Sleepypod Clickit Utility was the top performer because the dog remained restrained during every test and was deemed to offer protection to not only the pet, but to all passengers.

The other harnesses that were crash tested—Klein Metal AllSafe, Cover Craft RuffRider Roadie, RC Pet Canine Friendly Crash Tested, Bergan Dog Auto Harness, Kurgo Tru-Fit Enhanced Strength, and IMMI PetBuckle—did not have optimal performance in the tests. Some of the harnesses allowed the dog to launch off of the seat or did not control the rotation of the dog. The worst products were labeled catastrophic failures, as they allowed the test dog to become a full projectile or be released from the restraint. That occurred in the IMMI model in all dog sizes, Kurgo in the 25 lb. and 75 lb. size, and the Bergan model in the 75 lb. size.

If you need to transport your pet, make sure it is properly restrained so it doesn’t get hurt or possibly injure others in a crash. Further, a proper restraint will reduce the risk of the pet interfering with the driver or otherwise causing distractions with its movement.

For more tips on how to safely transport your pet, see our report on pets and car safety .

—Liza Barth