The UWindsor Anthrozoology program is going to the dogs. Applications for Fall 2021 admissions open today — April 1 — for qualified canines.
The application process calls for human companions to submit videos of the applicants demonstrating their obedience and intelligence — basic commands, off-leash behaviour, and any favourite tricks.
“Admission to the pet-friendly program is competitive,” says anthrozoology academic co-ordinator Beth Daly. “We’re thrilled to be at the cutting edge of dog education.”
She cites results from the International Canine Linguistic Institute, where researchers trained an Australian Shepherd to distinguish specific concepts in the work of German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. Prof. Stella Aussie from the institute has gone viral on YouTube with her ability to hit a button labelled “Nietzsche” when presented with a passage from Thus Spoke Zarathustra.
Dr. Daly says that UWindsor has recently signed a partnering agreement with the company TalkTalk to translate barking vocalizations into iterative conversations so that pets can use social networks to communicate with one another during pandemic restrictions. The Pet-2-Pet app is freely accessible and boasts a name, Woof-woof, as charming as it is useful.
Despite interest from cat owners, Daly has no intention to begin admitting felines to UWindsor classrooms.
“Teaching even an old dog new tricks is one thing,” she says. “But can you imagine trying to herd a class full of cats? That would be like … I’m sure an analogy will come to me.”
She invites those interested in signing up their companion dogs for the program to complete an online application.