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Episode #55 by Real.Dog/Box

Dog Parks… yay or nay? When I first got a dog, I thought dog parks would be an easy way for my dog to get out some pent up energy and socialize with other dogs -- turns out there were many factors I hadn’t considered that had a detrimental effect on my young pup’s growth and behavior. If your dog is a dog that struggles with confidence, is reactive, or is an overly dominant dog, dog parks may not the best choice. Here are a few things to consider.

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What Scotland’s dogs looked like 4500 years ago. First of all, where the heck is Orkney? I had to look it up - turns out it’s an archipelago off the northeastern coast of Scotland. Scientists have recreated a 3-D face of a dog from skulls discovered at Cuween Hill. Just as they are treasured pets today, dogs clearly had an important place in Neolithic Orkney, as they were kept and trained as pets and guards and perhaps used by farmers to help tend sheep. But the remains discovered suggest that dogs had a particularly special significance for the farmers who lived around and used the tomb about 4,500 years ago. Maybe dogs were their symbol or totem, perhaps they thought of themselves as the 'dog people'.

Tech tools to help US postal carriers from dog bites. The U.S. Postal Service reports that around 6,000 letter carriers will be attacked by dogs every year. Every April, USPS raises awareness for Dog Bite Prevention Week. USPS released an interactive map of all reported dog bites nationwide in 2018 so carriers know which houses have dogs. They identify the addresses where dogs live and put that information into the scanner and the GPS keeps track of it. Along with GPS warnings, letter carriers have other tools when an aggressive dog attacks, including dog repellant and a horn.

Beards can be dirtier than dog fur. A survey claims bearded men carry more germs in their facial hair than dogs carry in their fur. The sample size of the study in question was small – 18 men were tested against 30 canines of varying breeds – and other studies have found evidence to the contrary (the faces of bearded health workers tend to harbor fewer dangerous bacteria than clean-shaven faces, found one). Pro tip: You should wash your beard hair like you wash the hair on your head.

Trump calls working dogs 'the greatest equipment in the world'. The Trump family has broken with tradition -- by not having a pet at the White House -- making them the first pet-free first family since before Thomas Jefferson, who kept a mockingbird and a couple of bear cubs. Trump lived with a poodle, Chappy, with his first wife, Ivana, who wrote in her memoir that "Donald was not a dog fan." But he praised drug-detecting dogs at the US-Mexico border at the Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit, calling working canines "the greatest equipment in the world."

Could robot therapy dogs be 'substitutes for live animal companions'? Therapy pets may help patients cope with loneliness, anxiety, and stress, but caring for a live/living animal isn’t easy. There’s some evidence that robotic companions can do the same. “Jennie” is a prototype robot therapy dog, barks and wags her tail just like a real dog. The synthetic fur for the robot-dogs was created by Jim Henson's Creature Shop, which produces The Muppets. The robots are expected to go on the market next year for about $450.

The dog stays by the owner’s side after dying on a hike. "Without the barking of his loyal companion Daisy, we never would have located the missing man,” said the Pierce County Sheriff's Department. After a man went missing in Washington state on Thursday, a rescue team was led to his body when the man’s loyal dog, having stayed by his side, started barking and drew attention to the pair.

Purina creates a vet billboard it actually needs dogs to pee on. Pet food brand Purina has run a wellbeing stunt for dogs, by creating an interactive billboard that scans canine urine for diseases. The street vet stunt, from McCann Paris, was created to disrupt dog checkups and displace steep vet bills. In practice, the billboard installment uses dog pheromones to attract the pets to the ad where they, like clockwork, urinate into a drain that will take and analyze their sample.

Dogs can tune out the noise, just like people at cocktail parties. In recent experiments at the University of Maryland, scientists found that our furry companions can perceive their name spoken at the same intensity as or louder than background noise. The canines also recognized their own names when spoken by an unfamiliar voice and through a loudspeaker—suggesting they were not responding to a person’s body language, tone of voice, or other cues. This is valuable insight for people handling working and service dogs, who may need to take urgent commands from people other than their owner in a noisy environment, according to the study.

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