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It started when two canine scientists decide to become pen pals in an era of digital media...

Friday, 22 November 2013

Poo Power! Global Challenge

Hey Julie,
it's not every week I get to issue an invitation to the entire world, but that's exactly what I'm doing today!

Mia
Students invited to compete in global dog poo competition:

Poo Power! Global Challenge launches Monday 25 November 2013


Students and classes will be pitched against each other to see who can identify the most and largest dog waste 'hotspots' in their local neighbourhood in the 'Poo Power! Global Challenge'. Participants use a GPS-enabled iPhone to download the free Poo Power! App from the App Store. Their task is to identify and map dog poo 'hotspots' in dog parks and public spaces from their neighbourhood from Monday 25 November 2013. 

While the initial competition is being run for students and schools, anyone, anywhere can participate and contribute to this citizen science initiative.
Duncan & Diesel from Poo Power!
This eyebrow-raising project is a collaboration between dog poo entrepreneur Duncan Chew from Poo Power! and me (!), as a way to say thanks to all the students who voted for me to win I'm a Scientist, Get Me Out of Here! in Australia recently. The collected information will be uploaded onto the Global Poo Map and provides a platform for students to discuss the scientific, social and environmental issues of dog waste. The students are then encouraged to write a letter to their local Government representative of their findings and recommendations. Citizen science at it's finest! 

Scientific American are currently featuring Poo Power! on their Citizen Science website

"From our research only 3% of Australians see uncollected dog waste as an environmental concern," explains Duncan Chew. "When it rains, uncollected dog poo gets washed down drains, effecting water quality and habitat for native animals, as well as making rivers and creeks unpleasant for us to visit."  

I just think this is a great way to utilise the prize money from winning the I’m A Scientist – Get Me Out of Here! competition; it raises awareness of new sustainable energy sources, environmental issues and responsible dog ownership, all while increasing student engagement in a citizen science activity.
The collated information has the poo-tential to identify sites for biogas-powered lights for parks as proposed by the Melbourne-basedproject, Poo Power!, currently in development. The methane that is released from the dog waste as it breaks down inside a 'biogas generator' can be used as a viable renewable energy source.
Photo: Steven Pam

Competition prizes and giveaways are up for grabs for students whose submissions are received between 25th November and 9th December 2013. After this initial competition period closes, the project will continue to run, collecting ongoing hotspot data worldwide.
Check out everything you need to know at www.poopower.com.au
Download the full instructions to participate here

To contextualise the material for classroom lessons, teachers can download the Poo Power! Study Guide

Competition details

Individual student prizes include 2 iPod Shuffles (for the two students who log the most hotspots) and 4 Doggie Doo games (random giveaways to people mapping hotspots) during the two week competition period.
For each competing class, teachers will receive a copy of the 'Dog Poo - The Truth At Last' on DVD. For contextualising the material for classroom lessons teachers are encouraged to download the Study Guide from the Poo Power! Resources page.
Download the full instructions to participate here
Further reading:

Okoroigwe E.C., Ibeto C.N. & Okpara C.G. (2010). Comparative Study of the Potential of Dog Waste for Biogas Production, Trends in Applied Sciences Research, 5 (1) 71-77. DOI:  

Nemiroff L. (2007). Design, Testing and Implementation of a Large-Scale Urban Dog Waste Composting Program, Compost Science & Utilization, 15 (4) 237-242. Link: click here to view PDF

© Mia Cobb | Do You Believe in Dog? 2013

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Accessible animals for your viewing pleasure

(source)
Dogs are a big thing for us here at Do You Believe in Dog?, and if you’re visiting us, they’re probably a big deal for you too! 

We watch them, study them, talk about them, talk to them, heck we even write about them. And while dogs occupy much of our lives, a wide variety of non-human animals creep into our daily lives, particularly through YouTube.

While Mia wraps up the post-event details for the inaugural Working Dog Conference (which went exceedingly well, details to come!) we want to share a few animal videos that we've recently come across. Down the road, we’ll discuss how videos featuring animals, particularly those generated by the general public, can be incredibly useful to animal behavior (behaviour!) researchers. 

And! If you had to select a favorite video from those below, which would it be, and why? We'd love to hear your preferences and thoughts in the comment section below.











Milley on DYBID? Let us explain! Over on Vimeo, check out David Attenborough like never before. Click here to watch Attenborrowed
by wreckandsalvage
(Twitter/Facebook), a creative union between the world of natural birds and pop music "birds." 

Scientific American blogger, Jason Goldman reminds us that it’s not only the general public who are making videos of animals. To capture footage of the rarely seen African golden cat, scientific researchers set video camera traps.

The lure: Meat? Nope. More Meat? Nope. Calvin Klein Obsession For Men. That isn't something you can make up, and Goldman explains why the researchers decided on this, uhm, fragrance.  


For more animal videos, check out the post Ten Special YouTube Animal Videos by Dr. Hal Herzog, author of Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat: Why It's So Hard to Think Straight About Animals. You'll get an answer to the question, "Should birds and cats hang out?"

Enjoy!

Julie & Mia

© Do You Believe in Dog? 2013

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Hours Away! Steve White and Nicola Rooney Inaugural Working Dog Alliance Conference

 

Hi Mia,
This is clearly not an announcement for you. Instead, it is an internet broadcast that the first Working Dog Alliance Australia Conference is almost here, Nov. 4-5 in Sydney!



You and many others have put months into this initiative, and tomorrow (or your today!) people involved in every aspect of working dogs will come together to share ideas, network and learn! Attendees to include working dog breeders, trainers, handlers, veterinarians, facility managers, research scientists, advocacy groups and government representatives.

I want to make sure everyone knows what’s happening, and how they can follow along!

Conference dates: November 4-5, 2013 Australia time ;)

Conference Twitter Hashtag#workdogs13  

Twitter hashtags are awesome because anyone can follow along with the conference, even if you aren’t on twitter! Hear that, mom? ;) 

Conference Program: Click here  

What Should People Expect at the Conference? 
If I didn’t have to go watch the New York City Marathon I would profile each of the excellent conference speakers, but I have to go watch people mash their feet up, I mean, do an awesome job running so many miles!!  

Here's a taste of what people can expect from the keynote speakers at the inaugural Working Dog Alliance Australia Conference

KEYNOTE
Welfare of working dogs and its impact on performance: research so far
Nicola Rooney, University of Bristol, UK

Rooney has a PhD in dog behavior (I’ve read her work on play behavior many times) and for the past 14 years she has headed a team studying working dogs (see her bio for specific areas they’ve covered). So many factors can affect working dog performance, and welfare -- defined and measured -- can play a huge part. 

(Source: Rooney)
Border Patrol Dogs Need to Sniff: Here in the States, the Penn Vet Working Dog Center also prioritizes welfare in terms of performance. They list dehydration as a common hazard for working dogs. A recent (and ongoing) study with the Sarita Texas checkpoint Border Patrol agents examines the effect of different hydration strategies on dogs working in hot and humid conditions. The Sarita checkpoint averages 95°F in July with around 84% humidity. Eep!

They are examining different hydration strategies like water delivered orally, an electrolyte solution delivered orally and a subcutaneous electrolyte solution. No data released yet on which fluid best impacted parameters like core body temperature, search behavior and activity and looking forward to more! Maybe this will come up at the conference? Penn Vet Study details here.

KEYNOTE

Your dog ain’t so special
Steve White, ProActive K9 & Seattle Police Canine Unit USA
 

White and McConnell Seminar
Excellent title. Steve White covers a lot of ground, from working dogs to companion dogs (he recently gave a seminar with Patricia McConnell in Chicago). Steve is a Military Police Working Dog Handler, has presided over the Seattle Police Canine Unit, and is a consultant for K9 academies around the world. His hands-on work is a big deal. 

Here is Steve in action, combining clicker training and scent work and discussing the 8 rules of Punishment.





Enjoy the conference everyone!

Julie