Real dogs teased with toy dog

The uncanny valley even creeps dogs out. (via Arbroath)


  1. I bought a $10 radio controlled truck from Walgreen’s last week, for similar purposes. My dog doesn’t know what to make of it. She walks after it (it isn’t very fast), barks at it in outrage, and once knocked it over, but for the most part pretends to ignore it and look cool. But I know she’s a bit freaked because she gnaws on a certain rawhide when it’s in action.

    I’ll have to get one of these dogs. The fact that it looks like an animal might really screw with the head.

  2. Isobel’s just scared of being replaced with cheaper, longer-lasting replicant dogs- as are we all!

    My doggy, not known for having a great sense of smell, alternately play-bows and growls at a bear sculpture. Dogs don’t really understand art.

  3. Some friends were renovating and had taken down a stuffed deer head that they had hanging on the wall and placed it on the floor. My dog became obsessed with it. She would sniff it all over, lick it’s face and refuse to be parted from it. She sat by it for hours, growling at the other dogs if they came too close. I can’t for the life of me imagine what on earth she thought it was! Crazy dog.

  4. A cat would pin it down and leisurely strip the flesh from it, all the while enjoying its shrieks.

  5. I like to pull out my Sony Aibo and let my dog run around with it. He thinks it is just a friend.

  6. teased and confused my badass cat too – while I was watching the barking got her curious and on the prowl

  7. I suspect that, in the canine world, the uncanny valley is twice the size of the Grand Canyon. Dogs are routinely infuriated by bugs, sunlight, shadows, vacuum cleaners, wind, bowtie pasta, the very idea of a daily package delivery service, November, and the presence (or absence) of squirrels.

    I don’t believe that dogs even recognize that other dogs exist. They recognize three types of objects, 1) stuff I eat (or gnaw) 2) stuff I boink and 3) stuff I bark at.

    My sister had a dog (now passed on to his eternal reward) who nearly had an aneurysm every time he heard the whistling in the theme from the Andy Griffith show.

    But then, I must admit that Goober resides in my own uncanny valley.

  8. Stefan Jones, you are one mean bahstid. Our new mechanical canine overlords are going to deal harshly with you.

  9. my pug is going ballistic just listening to that thing bark on my screen…I can’t stop laughing, I might have to buy one just to entertain myself..

  10. RE uncanny valley, James Lileks wrote a great blog entry about his dog reacting to a furless, robot-style mechanical dog. He (the dog) tried to protect his humans from it. At one point he (again, the dog) sniffed under the toy’s tail, and looked spooked.

    Lileks suggested that the experience might be like shaking someone’s hand only to discover that it’s at room temperature.

  11. #11: Kira (woof) is a high-prey drive dog with a compulsion to chase stuff. The right mechanical prey-beast would be good energy-draining entertainment for her.

  12. This is so meeeeen! But funny.

    I think I’d stop when the dog started getting visibly upset. But I’m kind of a chickenshit that way.

  13. I think that would be a much shorter clip with my dog. He’s just grab it and shake it till it fell apart.

  14. “I can’t for the life of me imagine what on earth she thought it was!”

    Answer: GIANT CHEW TOY!

  15. damn, i thought my dog was dumb.

    @#8Kibble nah, i’ll tell you what dogs think: if I can’t eat it, can’t fuck it; piss on it.

  16. This is one of those generational things. Probably a first for the YouTube generation. Get a new cat, put out a realistic stuffed cat or stuffed bear…. wait twenty years for the cat to die. Get a new cat. Put out a stuffed cat or stuffed bear…. Same with dogs. If they only had a culture and written history they could pass along the knowledge and the next generation wouldn’t look like idiots.

  17. I once confounded a pair of office dachshunds with a homemade dachshund pinata. They were pretty freaked out by it, but once they did the butt sniff they tore it to pieces. It was the moments leading up to the butt sniff that were the most hilarious.

    Since then, I’ve had the pleasure of being a dogfather, and I have to say that I am less likely to tease a dog these days – mainly because of the fact that we have 10 thousand years of domestic bonding between us. 10,000 years! (give or take) That is quite a relationship, and one which I don’t take lightly. (It’s also the reason I’ll never get another dog – there’s way too much emotion involved)

    Oh.. the poor things though.. They’re just trying their best, and the damn pink monkey throws a robot dog at ’em. What a bunch of jerks we are.

  18. Reminds me of the way my sister used to watch ‘Dr Who’ way back when (in the 60’s, I think it was). She would lurk outside in the passage and peep around the edge of the door and when the Darleks moved she’d disappear.

  19. Regarding chimps and fake leopard:

    The initial overdub makes it sound like we’re watching a promotional piece for a lever manufacturer.

    Neat video.

  20. when I was ten I tied a GI Joe sized action figure called Johnny West to the back of my cat. I raised Johnny’s right hand up and set the cat loose. It looked like Johnny West was riding a Bengal tiger in a rodeo.


  21. Part of the dog’s unpleasant reaction may have been to the ultra-high pitched, ultra-annoying noise the robopup was making.

    Dogs have very sensitive ears, and are easily peeved by loud, high-pitched sounds.

    Plus, that thing’s just plain annoying. I know I wanted it to shut up.

  22. @ #21:

    True. The mech dog had no smell, no identifying marking except being ‘alive’. What it did do was maintain a rigid posture and did not back down, which in the dog world means aggressiveness.

    You don’t have be mean to dominate a dog, you just have to not flinch.

  23. Realdog is not frightened by robodog but invites it to play.
    Stupid robodogs cells make it too slow to follow realdog.
    That confuses realdog.

  24. The robodog did elicit a reaction from the biodog, but it definitely wasn’t all negative. There’s some “play solicitation” body language from the living dog in parts of the video, including the classic play solicitation posture: front quarters lowered, tail wagging, ears forward.

    In other words biodog’s language in the clip is saying something like this: 1. “Whoa!” 2. “Holy Crap.” 3. “Hey, this is my territory.” 4. “Dude, chill.” 5. “Hmmmmm.” 6. “Hey, uh, wanna play?”

  25. Ya know, I actually wrote “a young Fidel” first, and then erased it for Che because of the cheeky glint in his eye. Fidel never had that glint that made Che such a handsome devil.

    Maybe he has an extra beard on as a diguise..

Comments are closed.