March 24, 2010

Poker Playing Dogs

As we've discussed before, 19th Century dog breeders invented all sorts of highly useful breeds, while 20th Century dog breeders mostly conserved and ornamentalized existing breeds.

What kind of breeds would be useful in the 21st Century? Maybe somebody could breed a poker player's assistant, a dog with such a refined sense of smell and of human body language that he could tell when the other players were bluffing.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

31 comments:

Garland said...

Well yeah but as soon as people were aware of the breed you wouldnt be allowed to have one around during a game.

Mystery said...

How about "companion" dogs for all those lonely, lovelorn beta males?

Mark said...

A friend of mine had an idea for a dog built like alligator that would be useful for fetching things from under the bed.

Polistra said...

Or Homeland Security could use dogs to detect serious Mohammedans. No training needed; fervent Mo's (especially Arabs) hate and fear dogs so strongly that any competent dog can feel it.

This won't happen, of course, because detecting real enemies is nowhere on DHS's list of priorities.

Usually Lurking said...

Weren't some doctors toying with the idea that some dogs can sniff out certain kinds of cancer? Or did that turn out to be a bunch of garbage?

Anonymous said...

The best applications are for human health.

Some researchers in the UK are developing cancer-sniffing dogs. The prograqm has shown success. It is a natural extension of explosives-sniffing.

A breed specifically for epilipetics, to warn when seizures are coming and to call for help (on the phone).

Also, extremely stable temperment dogs to improve general mental health.

NutUpOrShutUp said...

A dog that could spot people who believe human biodiversity. Morris Dees would have a whole pack of them.

Anonymous said...

That's the wrong method, Steve. The correct method is 10,000 hours of practice for sniffing the bluff-related pheromones. I've heard there's a training house somewhere around Manhattan -- established by one of Bernie Madoff's first cousins twice removed -- charging you $100,000 for that.

I myself could use a trainer teaching humans how to hear dog whistles. 10,000 hours of practice should do it. I happen to be an amateur musician, and since music requires a good ear, who knows, I may end up outdoing Wolfie.

JT

Anonymous said...

This would only be useful if no one else knew about it. Otherwise, dogs would simply be banned from the table.

Jim O said...

Steve, you're drinking in the morning, are you?

Kylie said...

Dogs can already tell when humans are bluffing to a degree that I, as a dog ownee, find positively unnerving.

The trick would be to get dogs to use their preternatural ability to scope out humans to your advantage instead of to theirs. I don't see that happening any time soon as most dogs are the most charming and willful of sociopaths.

Anonymous said...

Off-topic, but two of iSteve's favorite personalities are in the news today:

1) Turns out that James Cameron doesn't much care for Glenn Beck, and

2) Looks like Bill Gates might [FINALLY!!!] be doing something worthwhile with his great big pile o' booty.

Anonymous said...

How about a dog bred to take your car keys away from you when you're drunk? This thread could easily veer off into the absurd.

Ross said...

A serious one might be cancer detecting canines.

fdfdrete said...

How about a dog that sniffs out lying liberals?

William B Swift said...

Leon Whitney in his How to Breed Dogs suggested breeding for a much more intelligent dog. He pointed out that dogs that were more intelligent in the normal run were usually disposed of because they tended to be escape artists or otherwise hard to manage. If you had the energy and inclination to do it, a substantially more intelligent dog would be very useful for many things.

Chip said...

It would be interesting to breed strictly for intelligence. Intelligence in dogs has largely been a side-effect of task-orientied breeding, but I don't know that it's ever been at the center of a breeding plan.

Tsoldrin said...

Most dogs, in fact most animals, probably already have this talent. Like the counting/math doing horse which read the owner or audience expectation to stop at the correct number. Or the squirrels outside my window who know that it's okay to roam around with large deer but to take off if a cat shows up. Even more refined, the squirrels can coexist with large and semi-large birds like jays, robins and peacocks but know to high tail it out of there if a predatory bird like an owl or hawk shows up. Many animals are body language experts it would appear.

The trick would be to get the dog to tell YOU what's going on and also do so in a way that doesn't tip off the notoriously observant other players. An added burden would be that you'd not only have to keep your normal poker face but maintain another aspect to cover knowledge imparted by the animal. Methinks if you are talented enough to pull all this off there are more lucrative arenas for you than playing poker.

Reg Cæsar said...

Check out Cassius Marcellus Coolidge, a prophet, and the most notable native of Philadelphia ever.

(I didn't say which Philadelphia...)

kudzu bob said...

Many years ago, a former landlady of mine used to be very active in various civil rights causes. She considered herself quite engagé with regard to racial equality and so forth, although when I knew her, her contacts with black people were mostly limited to regular purchases of the bronchitis-inducing schwag that left her with a persistent cough.

For reasons that can only be guessed at, her beloved Chihuahua absolutely hated any and all black people, rather like the dog in that Romain Gary novel.

I once saw my landlady reduced to utter mortification as she recounted how earlier that day her dog, quite without warning, had sunk its teeth into her dealer's wrist. The poor guy had done nothing more threatening than let his hand casually rest a little too close to the animal. He ended up needing stitches and a shot.

I helpfully suggested that since Halloween was near, she ought to make her Chihuahua a KKK outfit, complete with an itty-bitty pointed hood. To my disappointment, she elected not to take me up on my splendid idea. I still think that it would have been funny as hell.

SGOTI said...

Weimaraners would be good poker playing dogs. They're evil geniuses, naturally aloof and a bit suspicious, have long necks to try and sneak a look at other player's hands, and they have stoic faces.

rrrttreeww said...

Wasn't there a movie called White Dog by Sam Fuller?

Anonymous said...

The nearest thing to breeding for intelligence would be the highland sheep dog...the black and white collie.
It is usually touted as being the most intelligent breed with Afghans last.

Witness a sheep-dog trial on hills, and see some amazing coordination and smarts from sheep dogs especially the 'eye' dog which is used up close to sheep and the'huntaway' which barks from a distance.

Anonymous said...

How about a dog that sniffs out lying liberals?

Go on boy sick him!

Good boy!

kudzu bob said...

"Wasn't there a movie called White Dog by Sam Fuller?"

In the beginning was the Word, O child of television.

Pam Maltzman said...

When I was a kid, my mother told me that old-time physicians could smell it when a patient had cancer, so using dogs to sniff out undiagnosed cancer isn't farfetched at all.

Have also heard that in cancer wards in general, the disease makes its victims give off a particular odor.

Reg Cæsar said...

Weimaraners would be good poker playing dogs. --SGOTI

What do you mean, would be? They already are, on this video.

Anonymous said...

fdfdrete: How about a dog that sniffs out lying liberals?

Anonymous: Go on boy sick him! Good boy!

kudzu bob: For reasons that can only be guessed at, her beloved Chihuahua absolutely hated any and all black people...

No comment.

Blumenthal said...

***When I was a kid, my mother told me that old-time physicians could smell it when a patient had cancer, so using dogs to sniff out undiagnosed cancer isn't farfetched at all.***

Doesn't that cat that sits on patients before they pass away pick up on the pheremones being let off?

http://www.peoplepets.com/news/pets-in-the-news/oscar-the-cat-who-senses-death-is-the-star-of-new-book/1

Mr. Anon said...

And then perhaps a breed that could paint other dogs playing poker.

Anonymous said...

A dog breed especially shaped to
smell out and detect covert psychopaths in high places in government or in finance--e.g., John Edwards, Bernie Madoff-- would have
the life expectancy of a soap bubble.