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The Mass Media

Dogs! A Science Tail

How is it that we have such a close bond with domestic dogs? The newest exhibit at The Museum of Science, Dogs! A Science Tail is here until May 25, answering all your dog related questions. An immersive experience that shows the bond we have with dogs is as old as we are. Dogs evolved from wolves, a highly predatory species. Wolves are very social creatures who can communicate and cooperate within their community. Uncover wolf and dog remains in the archaeology pit! Some of the oldest evidence we have of wolf partnership is over 8,000 years old!  

Your dog really does want to be with you all the time, and when you point something out to your dog and they look, you are communicating with one another. While walking along with your dog, you fall in step with one another, cooperating. Though we can’t speak the same language as dogs, we can communicate in various other ways that the exhibit portrayed. 

The wonderfully thought out parts of the exhibit include a full-scale screen with binoculars, so you can see what a dog sees when it goes for a walk outside. Once you see this point of view, you are thankfully reminded that dogs have better motion senses and night vision than we do. Devices and tricks are provided to show what a dog’s hearing is like. First, it shows how something such as a telephone ringing would sound to a human, then it amplifies itself to how a dog would hear it. The world contains lots of sounds that dogs can hear that we can’t, such as high-pitched noises. Maybe that’s why the loud vacuum cleaner is such an enemy!  

Increase your knowledge of dog psychology even further! The anatomy of a dog nose is spectacular, and the exhibit shows a fully enlarged diagram, including the organ above the roof of a dog’s mouth that counts as a second nose. An interesting part of the exhibit features training a dog with positive reinforcement, such as a certain click of a button. Other countries celebrate dogs in different ways, shown through a large scale map featuring the Czech Republic, where many police dogs from around the world come from. Their tradition of breeding and training comes from the Communist era due to borderline guarding.

Ever noticed how we talk to babies in a similar way to how we talk to dogs? Our love for dogs can be comparable to our love for babies, including some of the same bodily responses. There is a full biological map of all the bodily senses and our reactions. Such as hands, when we pet dogs our heart rate drops and oxytocin levels go up creating a stronger bond. Oxytocin is a hormone associated with happy feelings. We are not alone in this bond howeverthere is a corresponding map to what happens biologically to the pup. When dogs look into our eyes, their oxytocin levels go up as well!

Take your imaginary dog for a walk and interact with your neighbor as your dog might. The exhibit gives you a unique perspective of the world through a dog’s eyes. My favorite part was how dogs have provided for us selflessly through jobs in our society. Since ancient times, dogs have been by our side helping and providing as best they can! One of the stranger jobs I saw was a turnspit dog from medieval Europe, where the pup was to run on a wheel to rotate a spit of meat over a fire. Essential for every home.
If you have a love for dogs, check out this popular exhibit at The Museum of Science. Remember though, this exhibit isn’t included in your ticket admission, so be sure to grab one when buying your ticket into the museum. Think you know all there is to know about dogs? Think again — we are still learning about dogs and the way they communicate with us more each day. Surprise yourself with knowledge on your furry friend you never thought was possible and check out the Dogs! Exhibit at the Museum of Science.