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      CommentAuthorchinklet
    • CommentTimeJan 25th 2010
     (7636.1)
    Stray dogs in Moscow are getting smarter, and learning how to take the city subway based on scent and recognizing train conductor's names. This just makes me want to visit Moscow more.

    http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2010-01/moscows-stray-dogs-evolving-greater-intelligence-wolf-characteristics-and-mastery-subway
  1.  (7636.2)
    I'd just like one piece of news to come out of Russia one time that isn't perturbing.
    • CommentAuthorStefanJ
    • CommentTimeJan 25th 2010
     (7636.3)
    I hope the scientists have thought to take DNA samples from the various sub-groups they've identified.

    If that was done on an ongoing basis they could eventually trace changes in genes through the generations.

    I'd like to see a dog smart enough to beg for coins, so they can support mass transit systems by paying fares.
  2.  (7636.4)
    I read this a while ago, and find it rather interesting.
    I'm curious if this behavior exists in other populations of dogs in different areas and just hasn't been noticed as of yet.
    •  
      CommentAuthormister hex
    • CommentTimeJan 25th 2010
     (7636.5)
    My mom's grandfather had an airedale named Laddie who used to take the ferry from Oakville, Ontario to Niagara-On-The-Lake, sometime in the '20's and '30's. Seriously, he'd go upthe gang-plank, sit near the prow so he could catch the wind on his face and get off when the ship pulled into port. Then, he'd head to their summer home. If nobody was there, he'd go to the neighbor's house. Somehow, he always knew when to get the last ferry home in time. True story.

    There's apparently a cat who takes the bus everyday, too.
    •  
      CommentAuthorSt.Wanger
    • CommentTimeJan 25th 2010
     (7636.6)
    Just posted the link on a german board and a friend told me a similar story about a dog using the public transport in Berlin properly ...
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      CommentAuthorspinnerin
    • CommentTimeJan 25th 2010
     (7636.7)
    We had a coyote on the local light rail a while back: http://dogsinthenews.com/issues/0202/articles/020215a.htm
    • CommentAuthorStefanJ
    • CommentTimeJan 25th 2010
     (7636.8)
    @spinnerin: Libertarian anti-mass-transit cranks used that incident to "prove" that the light rail system was so unused that coyotes lived on it. Actually, it was an deliberate empty train waiting for inspection.

    I think it would be cool if coyotes learned to use the MAX. The ones living by the airport could visit the ones the live in the Intel plant across the street.
    •  
      CommentAuthorcosta_k
    • CommentTimeJan 25th 2010
     (7636.9)
    Holy shit. I love dogs but we need to nip this in the bud before they've gotten smart enough to start plotting the canine supremacy movement.
  3.  (7636.10)
    I've seen rabbits use ferries and pigeons and rats use the underground. Never dogs though. Freeloading bastards!!
    • CommentAuthorPow
    • CommentTimeJan 26th 2010 edited
     (7636.11)
    There's apparently a cat who takes the bus everyday, too.




    shame
    •  
      CommentAuthorbjacques
    • CommentTimeJan 26th 2010
     (7636.12)
    Moscow dogs always smarter! cf. Mikhail Bulgakov's "Heart of a Dog."
    •  
      CommentAuthorspinnerin
    • CommentTimeJan 26th 2010 edited
     (7636.13)
    @StefanJ: Is there any way we can encourage such coyote social behavior? That would be awesome.

    Also, I must've missed the crank version of the story. I lived right by the Parkrose station for a while, so I assumed the coyote was just taking advantage of the then-unused stop where Ikea is now.
    • CommentAuthorStefanJ
    • CommentTimeJan 26th 2010
     (7636.14)
    Oh, I loved that stop. The train obediently stopped at a nicely finished station in the middle of nowhere. A meadow and trees and one little used roadway. There was a fence a foot outside the doors, so you could theoretically get off and walk around the edge of the platform while waiting for the next train.

    I seem to recall that the doors eventually not opening there, even though the train stopped.

    Wouldn't it be cool to dress up in a dark suit and derby and a "no face" mask and WAIT MOTIONLESS on that platform as trains pulled in, stopped for the requisite time, and then moved on?
    •  
      CommentAuthorspinnerin
    • CommentTimeJan 27th 2010
     (7636.15)
    Sort of like the secret train society in Palimpsest? (Getting horribly off-topic but...) I do miss going through that section on the train, especially early mornings when it's foggy out. Big box stores don't really have the same effect.
    • CommentAuthorVox Doom
    • CommentTimeJan 27th 2010
     (7636.16)
    There's apparently a cat who takes the bus everyday, too.






    shame


    :(

    Now I'm extra sad.
    • CommentAuthorErisah
    • CommentTimeJan 29th 2010
     (7636.17)
    Hey, what's with all the doom and gloom? I for one think that this is pretty cool. And it's not really that complicated a behaviour- commuters=food, commuters are on trains, trains go places, remember what those places are, as commuters=food. Also, I daresay it's warmer in the trainstations/trains than it is outside (though having never been to Russia, I can't say this with 100% certainty). Plenty of positive reinforcement in that scenario.

    I mean, if crows that build their nests out of electrical wires can learn to build fake nests so that their nests won't get destroyed by angry Japanese officials (though I'm sure the electricians are happy), and have learnt how to use the pedestrian lights to decide when is the best time to drop then later retrieve nuts so that cars will drive over them and crack them, what's so surprising about a dog learning how to commute?
  4.  (7636.18)
    Heh. I saw that on the Bucharest metro too, back in 2001. I was living somewhere on the outskirts of town and had an hour long commute each morning to get to my university so each day around 7 AM, I would take the M1 (red line) from Nicolae Grigorescu towards the centre and each day I would see the same white mongrel patiently waiting for the train... It would get in and at each stop it would pop its head out the door and sniff the platform before getting down at Timpuri Noi, 3 stops down the line. The funny thing was that sometimes I would meet the dog on my return trip as well...
    • CommentAuthorVerissimus
    • CommentTimeFeb 25th 2010
     (7636.19)
    Heh. I saw that on the Bucharest metro too, back in 2001.


    Isn't Bucharest infamous for the packs of stray dogs attacking humans?
  5.  (7636.20)
    It's a major problem, in fact, and ever since they killed that Japanese tourist a while back everybody in the world knows about it.

    The whole thing started in the late 80s when the government got this idea of tearing down whole neighbourhoods of houses and replacing them with prefabricated concrete "blocks of flats" as parts of their "Pursuit of the Communist Ideal". Most of the residents were given just a few hours to get out before the bulldozers came, so their pets ended up on the streets and started multiplying...
    After the revolution they started picking them up, taking them to pounds and putting them to sleep, but what do you know it, PETA went in and filed a protest against the Romanian government at the Hague, so now the only course of action left to them is to catch as many as they can, sterilise them and then release them back, which, of course, doesn't really work for controlling the overall population and still leaves large and dangerous packs around.

    As for attacking humans, yeah, they do that if they feel like it, and trust me, having to fight 20 or so dogs isn't fun at all, even though most of them are not that big. I got bitten twice so far and the best defence I came out with was actually talking to them if they bark at me- they expect fight or flight, so that really confuses them.

    And I'd really like to have some of the PETA people, who I bet are now feeling squishy inside for having saved all the nice widdle doggies from the bad dogatchers, come here and get chased a few block by one of these packs, just to see what they do...