Thursday, 2 November 2017

Now that's my idea of an 'enrichment item'

Mexican Gray Wolf. Credit: Clark Jim, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, via Wikimedia Commons.

Bertie Boffin here (your go-to guy for all matters pertaining to canine-relevant science)...

Scanning through a range of blogs on the American Geophysical Union website, a post about particular experiment recently caught my eye.

This experiment involves some Mexican gray wolves held in a 'pre-release facility' prior to being let out into the wild as part of a carefully planned re-introduction programme in New Mexico and Arizona.

To mitigate any stress and boredom the wolves might feel while temporarily held in captivity, a variety of 'enrichment items' have been introduced to their cages, and the aim of the study is too see which ones work best. These items include - now wait for it.....

'Road killed elk carcass', 'bones', and 'buried meat with a blood trail leading to it'.

Now it seems to me that this experiment has clear relevance to us dogs (we do share 98.8% of our DNA with our wolf brethren after all) and I would be more than happy to offer my services to Science as follows:

So Gail goes to work three days per week, leaving me shut up at home alone*, potentially stressed and bored. I suggest we could work it like this with testing the enrichment items:

Tuesdays: road killed elk carcass (or if hard to source in Scotland, red deer would be an acceptable substitute, I guess)
Wednesdays: Bones (miscellaneous, although my preference would be lamb)
Thursdays: Buried meat with a blood trail leading to it (really, I am not fussy at all about the type of meat)

Replication is of course all important in science, and I suggest the experiment be run over a period of ten weeks. If necessary, further iterations, with the items on different days, could be tried too.

I would, of course, write a detailed report explaining in very analytical fashion my levels of satisfaction with the various sources of 'enrichment' at the end of the study.

So how about it Gail?

I can't see any objections. Can you?

*Alone, that is, apart from the dog walker who comes midday, and those afternoons, quite frequent, when I go round to entertain our neighbours Yvonne and Neil.


  1. I like that idea...but I hope the bloody trail leads not to the bathroom :o)

  2. I'd volunteer for dat study too!

  3. We think this is very important science which could help all your pals who spend time alone. Thanks for being willing to do this for all of us. We await the results and also volunteer to help if you need us too.

  4. Hari OM
    ..."Buried meat with a blood trail leading to it (really, I am not fussy at all about the type of meat)"...
    Bwwwhaahaha - you missed a trick Bertie lad, this would have made fine post for Halloween!!! This line actually made me cackle as all sorts of images flashed through my word-addled brain...

    Scientifically, though, I wonder how many wild wolves come across buried meat which has a blood trail? Is it a regular occurrence in those parts???.... hugs and wags, YAM-aunty xxx

  5. "Buried meat with a blood trail leading to it (really, I am not fussy at all about the type of meat)"...
    I too am a meat lover but OMCs Bertie have you thought about the consequences that go with dripping blood. Biggest one be a
    B A T H and more than likely a stripping of the fine WFT furs to get out the stench of debris left behind.
    Maybe you can talk to your walker about hiding treats about the house before she leaves. MOL this was too funny
    Hugs madi your bfff

  6. As the Blogville Scientific Advisor, I believe it is imperative for you to complete this study Bertie and then report your findings to the Mayor. I can issue a Mayoral Order if you think it may help your cause.
    Mayor Arty

    PeeEss - I would be willing to charter a lear jet and fly the Blogville Cabinet over to help you complete your study if need be!
    Mmmmmmm, elk carcass sound nommy!

  7. Oh Bertie, that's gross !
    Where would these buried carcasses be - not in the front room, under the fireside rug, or surely not under the duvet on the bed? Think about the mess that a bloody trail would make on the carpet going up the stairs !
    Aren't lamb bones supposed to be dangerous for us doggies because they can splinter when we chew on them?
    No Bertie, you stick to your usual chow and some nice unbloodied treats !

    Inca xxx

  8. Bertie, this was such an enjoyable read. I love it when you have your scientific hat on. Gail must surely be convinced by your persuasive case in favour of the experiment.

    Best regards


    Ps. Sunny all day here in Torridon. Back into hibernation tomorrow...

  9. We think that would be an excellent experiment AND if you want to see if there is a hemispheric variable, we'd be glad to help.

    P.S. We're fine, just doin' the same ole stuff--nothing the blog about.

  10. Where do I sign up to be part of this experiment? I would be especially interested in the bones and Elk carcass - I smelled a real live elk this summer, but they are kind of scary when they are alive.