Humans are changing dog brains | NevadaAppeal.com

Humans are changing dog brains

Kathleen Williams-Miller
Rosie is a sweet 10-year-old long-haired Chihuahua mix. She came to CAPS because her mom is very ill and could no longer take care of her. She likes people and Petey, another Chihuahua, who came with her. She is looking for a loving forever home. Come out give her a hug and take her for a walk.

Erin Hecht, a neuroscientist from Harvard, recent revealed that human’s selective breeding of dogs for certain characteristics has altered the structure of dog brains. By examining MRI scans of 62 dogs representing 33 different breeds, scientists were able to map the different areas of the brain.

Maps were created of the six neural networks linked to specific functions such as smell and movement. Amazingly, they found the shape of these networks correlated significantly with traits associated with each breed. For instance if a dog is bred to be a retriever, that part of the brain was developed more than in a herding dog.

Even though this study links specific behavior to breeds, there needs to be a follow-up study that tests dogs while performing specific tasks like herding or retrieving. Most dogs today are pets who don’t perform the tasks they were bred for. It’s possible a dog who is bred to be a Labrador retriever and actually does that job might have a brain that looks different from a Lab who retrieves cookies.

Scientists working on this project are also trying to understand the difference between high-skill performers and low-skill performers. For example, consider border collies who win competitions in the real world and their siblings who prefer to be couch potatoes.

Actually, I think dogs have altered human brains. I know for sure that Watson has altered mine. He gets me up for breakfast, his not mine, and makes sure we go for walks and I supply him with treats. Maybe it a mutual brain alteration fueled by love. After all, dogs are man’s best friends.

LOOKING FOR A HOME

We have one absolutely darling Catahoula mix puppy, and he is lonely. Come out and cheer him up with a little puppy petting. Policy, however, prohibits adopting out puppies or kittens under the age of six months to a home with children under 5 years of age. This is to protect both the children and the animal. Call 775-423-7500 for details.

IN NEED OF

Items for our Murder Mystery Dinner auction; we need gift cards, new items and gift baskets. Please call 775-423-7500.

Folks to register for the AmazonSmile program details are below. We have received $158 from Amazon because of you.

Aluminum cans; if you have cans to pick up, give us a call (775-423-7500), and we will come get them.

SHOUT OUT TO

Mike and Sally Van Curen for the huge bag of cans. A big bark of thanks to you!

Rema White for another bags of cans! You’re doggone great!

COME SEE US

CAPS will be at Walmart on Saturday with the Kissin’ Booth and a puckered-up pooch. Come by for a pooch smooch. We have hoodies, shirts and hats. Be sure to check out our merchandise after you get a pooch smooch!

DON’T FORGET

September Pet Holiday: Responsible Dog Ownership Day Sept. 15.

We will be holding rehearsals for our Murder Mystery at the Holy Trinity Episcopal Church at 2 p.m. on Sundays.

To register in the AmazonSmile program, a website operated by Amazon. Customers enjoy the same selection of products, low prices and shopping features as on Amazon.com. The only difference is that, when you shop on AmazonSmile (smile.amazon.com), the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the price of eligible purchases to the charitable organization selected by you.

CONTACT CAPS

CAPS’ mailing address is P.O. Box 5128, Fallon, NV 89407. CAPS’ phone number is 775-423-7500. CAPS’ email address is caps@cccomm.net. Please visit the CAPS website (www.capsnevada.com) and Facebook page (Churchill Animal Protection Society). Be sure to “Like” CAPS on Facebook because we are really likeable.

CAPS is open to the public on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Kathleen Williams-Miller is a CAPS volunteer. Contact me, jkwmil@outlook.com.