Making Movies with Dogs.

making movies with dogs

Domesticated dogs are highly sensitive to social cues and they interact with human in such a way that might provide a sensorimotor – using both senses (sight/sound) and movement of limbs – ability to imitate (Range, Huber, & Heyes, 2011). Dogs have a sensitivity to human body language and state of attention, use of gestures like pointing, head turning, gazing, and nodding can indicate where hidden food is located (Udell, Dorey, & Wynne, 2009). Meaning that dogs have the capacity to learn tricks or specific actions that can be used in a movie, with just a simple gesture. Dogs can also rely on auditory cues, without visual cues or scents to guide them, such as an exciting tone directed at an object to guide them to an object or treat (Rossano, Nitzschner, and Tomasello, 2014). This gives the director the options to direct the dog, to find a hidden object without being on screen, or being restricted to hand movements or the need to be seen by the dog.

It may be that behaviors that resulted from training with an object, like a toy, can be recalled without the presences of the object, thus forming a retrieval cue for a specific behavior (Fugazza, Pogány, & Miklósi, 2015). The trainer can then get the dog to learn a specific action that without the object could not be learned, increasing the dog’s range of movements. Furthermore, Fugazza, Pogány, & Miklósi (2015), found that dogs were able to imitate actions that were demonstrated even after delay that lasted from one hour to 24 hours. This means that dogs have the potential to retain the actions needed while filming and that they can be recalled at the appropriate moment.

Dogs have been trained to do tricks like shake a paw, which uses imitation – as the owner reaches out with their hand with an expectation the dog will do the same and extend a paw (Range, Huber, & Heyes, 2011). With a bit of practice and a lot of treats, my dog (Kiya) has been able to learn to roll over. First we grab her attention with a treat, then while turning hand in a clockwise motion to indicate the action to be perform, the trained uses the “roll-over” command. Range, Huber, & Heyes (2011), found that when a command accompanied the gesture to be imitated it aided the dogs ability to understand that the owners actions were cues or that it was time to learn a trick.

To capture the dog’s action at the right time is a feat in itself, and proper staging will make a difference. One of the quickest and easiest way to create a narrative movies is to record the stage in a boxed off area (Laurier, 2014). To build the story line of the movie Laurier (2014) suggests a few tips:

  • To convey a grammatical relationship between clips, the use of the cut, the sequence, and the transition are used.
  • Only three transitions are important to the home movie maker: the fade-in, the fade-out and the cross-cut dissolve.
  • Cuts and transitions allow movie makers to express continuity, metamorphosis, progress, parallel action, and narrative.
  • The cross-cut dissolve indicates the passing of time or a flashback.

It is important to be aware of your back-drop and lighting source. During the editing process contrasting colors and highlights/shadows can be manipulated too help guide viewers through the story. Editing the story for narrative that flows, makes it easier for the viewer to understand and focus on the performance of the dog.

© 2015 Laura Adamson –  All Rights Reserved


Fugazza, C., Pogány, Á., and Miklósi, Á. (2015). Do as I… Did! Long-term memory of imitative actions in dogs (Canis familiaris). Animal cognition, 1-7. Retrieved from!_Long-term_memory_of_imitative_actions_in_dogs_(Canis_familiaris)/links/5630f28608ae0530378cfa1a.pdf

Laurier, E. (2014). Dissolving the dog: the home made video. Cultural geographies, 21(4), 627-638. Retrieved from

Range, F., Huber, L., and Heyes, C. (2011). Automatic imitation in dogs. Proceedings: Biological Sciences, 278(1703), 211-217. Retreived from

Rossano, F., Nitzschner, M., and Tomasello, M. (2014). Domestic dogs and puppies can use human voice direction referentially. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 281(1785). Retrieved from

Udell, M. A. R., Dorey, N. R., and Wynne, C. D. L. (2009).  What did domestication do to dogs? A new account of dogs’ sensitivity to human actions. Biological Reviews, 85(2), 327–345. Retrieved from


Events and Activities at the University of Saskatchewan: Looking at 2015-2016

Volunteering for Doors Open Saskatoon in 2015, was an insight into the public’s view of the City of Saskatoon. People were happy at the opportunity to be able to visit locations throughout Saskatoon, some of which are not normally open to the public or charge an entrance fee. For example, the Police Department opened up certain areas of their facility to the public. However, the word on the street was the lines and wait times to take the tour were long.

More surprisingly, the majority of the public were unaware that certain locations in the Doors Open program were always open to the public. For instance Nutana Collegiate, which featured a gallery of Canadian paintings, is always open. However, the public was unaware that certain areas in this buildings and others were always open to the public.

People were wondering why certain buildings, like the University of Saskatchewan were not on the Doors Open tour. As a University of Saskatchewan alumni and student this was surprising. The University of Saskatchewan has many museums and galleries, which are open at certain hours and days (and sometimes only for specific months) for the public to enjoy at their leisure:


Source: University of Saskatchewan. (2015). Museum of Natural Sciences. Retrieved from:

  • Diefenbaker Canada Centre is a prime ministerial museum
  • Gordon Snelgrove Gallery The multi-purpose exhibition facility
  • The Kenderdine Art Gallery is the home of the permanent collection of the University of Saskatchewan
  • The Museum of Antiquities is a collection of ancient Greek, Roman, Egyptian and Near Eastern sculptures
  • The Museum of Natural Sciences has displays of living plants, animals and fossils
  • The St. Thomas More Art Gallery


Source: University of Saskatchewan. (2015). Gordon Snelgrove Gallery. Retrieved from:

Other events and displays occur at the University of Saskatchewan every year, sometimes on a regular basis and other times they rotate between colleges in North America or Canada. In 2016 the Link Gallery Exhibit: The Great War, is presented between November 2015 – January 2016, in Murray Library. Another display occurring from January 14th to 17th of 2016 is Spectrum, which is an exhibition of Science and Technology.


The College of Arts and Science has different News and Events, with links to todays, ongoing and upcoming events. The Department of Music also has many upcoming events. The department of drama holds two to three plays a year in the Graystone Theatre.

The University of Saskatchewan offers the public many different opportunities to experience everything from art and culture to science and technology. These events are changing constantly, and some exhibits are for a limited time. Take advantage of the events and displays the University of Saskatchewan offers while you can. Please note that some events are free and others you must purchase tickets for, for details or more information please follow the links provided.

© 2015 Laura Adamson –  All Rights Reserved

The Credibility of Blogs: looking at the blogger and the blog

“The level of credibility and trustworthiness of mass media seems to be at a critical juncture…It is within this current climate that a new type of information source is growing in popularity—the weblog” (Armstrong & McAdams, 2009, p. 435). Establishing a current and relevant blog is a challenge in the oversaturated world of blogging. Now-a-days, everyone and their dog seems to be able to write a blog and the topics are endless. Starting a blog for the first time has proven to be a bit overwhelming.

There is an overwhelming amount of information on how to blog, and figuring out what works is up to the individual blogger. What factors are necessary to help the audience perceive the blog as credible? More importantly what makes a blog valuable to the reader and how to keep them coming back for more? The answers to these questions will be the foundation upon building a credible blog. Establishing and increasing credibility of blogs has become more important than ever before, as more people rely of blogs for news and other information.

However, Banning, & Sweetser (2007), state that when it comes to blogs there are many reasons that impinge on credibility including 1) the fact that anyone can make a blog, 2) the blogger has no responsibility for content, 3) blogs can be anonymous, and 4) bloggers may not have writing ethics (example plagiarizing). Furthermore, blogging is mistrusted in general because of generic doubts about content generated by the public, and that this content is too diverse (Rieh, Jeon, Yang, & Lampe, 2014). As blogging has developed from a personal diary type style to a more informational and news sources, it is important to maintain a blogs credibility.

Credibility has been studied across many disciplines, many factors have been developed to assess the credibility of the person and/or their work. Out of the multitude of articles analyzing credibility, some common findings have emerged and can be applied to blogging (Rieh, Jeon, Yang, & Lampe, 2014):

  1. Trustworthiness is when the blog is considered good or has moral value.
  2. Expertise is how the reader perceives the bloggers knowledge, skills, and experience regarding a particular subject of field.
  3. Believability is when the reader is sure of the information contained in the blog is accurate without having to verify it.
  4. Information quality is how complete, objective, unbiased, or useful the blog is to the reader.
  5. Affective value is how the user feels about the information contained in the blog, including how visual design or content layout impacts user impressions of value of the blog.

These five factors will be looked at in more detail with regard to both the credibility of the blog and the blogger themselves:

Trustworthiness. The use of a trusted source, be it a scholarly article or a news documentary, can increase a blogs credibility (Banning, & Sweetser, 2007). However, Armstrong & McAdams (2009), state that blogging differs from professional journalism in that it relies on building a relationship based on trust, and not through quoted sources. In most cases, the relationship is intentionally personal and the blog author is considered the main source and is therefore judged for credibility, not others quoted in the post (Armstrong & McAdams, 2009).

Expertise. Male authors of blogs are considered more credible that women, as gender is a common variable that is used to evaluate written information (Armstrong & McAdams, 2009). Topic of the blog and writing style of the blogger also influenced credibility, political blogs and professional appearance were deemed to be more credible (Armstrong & McAdams, 2009). It is common practice for bloggers to adopt practices that establish and improve the credibility of their blog (Rieh, Jeon, Yang, & Lampe, 2014). Bloggers attempt to build credibility for various reasons, Rieh, Jeon, Yang, & Lampe (2014) have postulated four groups of bloggers and the value they provide to their audience:

  1. Community builders use audience participation and engagement to get value from their blog.
  2. Expertise providers offer value through information and education.
  3. Topic synthesizers use multiple perspectives to analyze content on their blog.
  4. Information filterers collect content from many sources and then organize it to provide value.


Believability. People and media are now looking at blogs as more than just personal diaries, but as influential sources of information and news (Banning, & Sweetser, 2007). It has been found that the peer-review process in blogging – comments and corrections – will increase the credibility of personal blogs, even making them more credible than traditional media sources (e.g. T.V. news, radio) (Banning, & Sweetser, 2007; Greenberg, Yaari, & Bar-Ilan, 2013).However, believability of the blog may be compromise as users who are on the internet often and use blogs to find their information may have bias. Moreover, Greenberg, Yaari, & Bar-Ilan (2013) found that information found on the internet is credible only because the user has found previous information on the internet. This may also be true for blogs the more users rely on blogs for information, the more they perceive them as credible regardless of how accurate it actually is.

Information Quality. Many studies have compared traditional media and journalistic style of writing to blogs and the blogger, and have found that the individual blogger is seen as more credible. According to Greenberg, Yaari, & Bar-Ilan (2013), information found in blogs in considered to be objective and genuine when compared to other sources. Greenberg, Yaari, & Bar-Ilan (2013), found that the non-journalist blogger was more credible than online newspapers and journalist blogs, as they were not attached to an institution. However, Armstrong & McAdams (2009) found that when readers were information-seeking it affected perceived credibility of the blog in that the writing style of the blog was important, straightforward and not personal were more credible. Moreover, the underlying motivations of readers is important when determining credibility as users that were high information seekers, reliant on information, or were attracted by presentation and style of blog, influenced perceptions that the blog was credible (Rieh, Jeon, Yang, & Lampe, 2014).

Affective Value. According to Banning, & Sweetser (2007), “the message and its construction indeed have a role in determining credibility, and that the medium alone is not the determining factor.” If a blog contains subject matter that is not applicable to the reader or the reader does not have enough knowledge on the subject, the reader will take an alternate route to examining the blog for credibility, focusing on the form and style of the message (Greenberg, Yaari, & Bar-Ilan, 2013).Affective value is more important to the blogs credibility than traditional media, as blogs are deemed to be personal and the structure and design can contribute to the feeling the reader gets. Grammatical correctness of blogs may also influence how users perceive credibility of the post (Greenberg, Yaari, & Bar-Ilan, 2013). Blogs credibility was rated on structure and design, items such as font choice, use of paragraphs with emphasis on subject, professional, creative design, easy and fun to read increased credibility. (Greenberg, Yaari, & Bar-Ilan, 2013).

When establishing a blog and building or maintaining credibility, it is important to consider many factors. Build rapport with your audience gaining their trust, through use of quotes and personal integrity. Determine the value your blog provides to the audience and present articles in a professional and thought-provoking manner. Create a dialogue with your audience to facilitate conversation about the topic, which in turn will increase authenticity. Information included in blogs will be judge on objectiveness and straightforwardness to determine credibility. Presentation of a blog is important, as professional formatting and creative writing bring the readers back for more.

© 2015 Laura Adamson –  All Rights Reserved


Armstrong, C. L., & McAdams, M. J. (2009). Blogs of information: How gender cues and individual motivations influence perceptions of credibility. Journal of Computer‐Mediated Communication, 14(3), 435-456.

Banning, S. A., & Sweetser, K. D. (2007). How much do they think it affects them and whom do they believe?: Comparing the third-person effect and credibility of blogs and traditional media. Communication Quarterly, 55(4), 451-466.

Greenberg, S., Yaari, E., & Bar-Ilan, J. (2013, January). Perceived credibility of blogs on the internet-the influence of age on the extent of criticism. In Aslib Proceedings (Vol. 65, No. 1, pp. 4-18). Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

Rieh, S. Y., Jeon, G. Y., Yang, J. Y., & Lampe, C. (2014). Audience-aware credibility: From understanding audience to establishing credible blogs.


The Beautiful Off-leash Dog Parks of Saskatoon

The people who reside in Saskatoon are lucky to have the option of choosing from many vast and open dog parks around the city. The City of Saskatoon has a list of all the dog park locations on their website. There are also a couple of dog parks outside the city limits, including Chief Whitecap park, Petturson’s Ravine, and Cranberry Flats.


Figure 1: Adamson, L. (photographer). (2014). Cranberry Flats [Photograph], Retrieved November 24, 2015. Photograph of the South Saskatchewan River at Cranberry Flats, SK.

The majority of the dog parks in Saskatoon are centered around the River, allowing dogs to cool off in the hot months. In the colder months, the paths are often cleared of snow and ropes set up to guide you down steep inclines. The off-leash dog parks are usually lush with forests and wildlife around every turn.


Figure 2: Adamson, L. (Photographer). (2014). Chief Whitecap Park [Photograph], Retrieved November 24, 2015. Photograph of the South Saskatchewan River at Chief Whitecap Park, SK.

The small walks around the block do not compare with the beautiful off-leash dog parks in and around Saskatoon. The dogs love the freedom to run for miles, and explore all the scents of the park. When it comes to a dog’s-eye view of the off-leash parks: “there are too many bums, and so little time (to sniff them all).”

© 2015 Laura Adamson –  All Rights Reserved

Using Diatomaceous Earth to deal with that nervous Tick: Preventing Lyme Disease

Diatomaceous Earth Ticks and Lyme Disease dogs black-legged deer north America Canada Saskatchewan saskatoon

Did you know that you can repel and even kill ticks and other pesky bugs with dust? Diatomaceous Earth is a type of dust that has specific properties that can suffocate and repel ticks and other insects. First, this paper will look at where the tick originated and its habitat. Second, black-legged or deer ticks can transmit Lyme disease and ways to prevent and treat it will be examined. Finally, a new natural remedy – the use of diatomaceous earth – will be covered.

ticks North America black-legged deer lyme disease dogs Canada Saskatchewan Saskatoon

Emerging in the United States in the 1970s, ticks have expanded into Canada due to warm weather caused by climate change (Levy, 2014), growing deer populations, and suburban growth (Beard, 2014). These factors have brought ticks into towns, cities, parks, and homes.  With a growing population of ticks throughout North America, an epidemic could be possible with the chance of a super El Niño occurring in 2015. According to Sutherland (2015), an El Niño that peaks in fall/winter of typically brings warmer, drier weather to Western Canada, however if it peaks in summer we may have a winter that might be worse than 2014.

Here in Saskatchewan, ticks are becoming a nuisance as soon as the snow melts. My dogs are now six years old and over the years we have become frequent visitors of the many lush off-leash dog parks in the area. Many of these parks are beautiful, like little forests within the city limits, always a scenic view all year round. A major feature of most of the parks is that the river is a treat for the dogs in the hot summer months. However, as soon as the snow begins to melt in March, ticks are starting to appear all over the city of Saskatoon, especially by the river, in heavily wooded areas and fields with tall grass (Streck, 2015). Although the majority of ticks identified in Saskatchewan are the dog tick, the Black-legged or deer tick has been spotted (0.3%) most likely carried by migrating birds (Government of Saskatchewan, 2015).

ticks black-legged deer lyme disease Canada north America Saskatchewan Saskatoon

Source: Government of Canada. (2015). Causes of Lyme Disease. Retrieved from:

Worst of all the bugs that my dogs and I have encountered is the tick. This creepy crawler is part of the spider family and can be very small and hard to see. It is important to be aware of these tiny insects, as the black-legged or deer tick can transmit Lyme disease to humans (Levy, 2014). Dogs are often bitten by ticks more frequently than humans, however they rarely present with clinical symptoms of Lyme disease (Bouchard, Leonard, Koffi, Pelcat, Peregrine, Chilton, and Ogden, 2015).

It is important to be aware of the symptoms of Lyme disease as medical treatment must be sought promptly. Symptoms of Lyme disease in humans include: bulls-eye rash, fever, chills, headache, fatigue, muscle and joint aches, and swollen lymph nodes, within 3-30 days; long-term symptoms include facial movement disorders, inflammation of the heart, dizziness or shortness of breath, arthritis, pain in tendons, muscles, joints, bones, and nerves, and short-term memory problems (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2015). To prevent transition of the disease it is important to remove the tick within 24 hours of being bitten (Levy, 2014). If medical treatment is not obtained within 2-4 weeks long-term consequences such as persistent fatigue, breathing problems, muscle aches, and short-term memory problems may occur (Beard, 2014).

lyme disease ticks black-legged deer Canada north America Saskatchewan Saskatoon

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2015). Signs and symptoms of untreated Lyme Disease. Retrieved from:

According to Beard (2014), the symptoms of Lyme disease present differently in dogs and appear later (2-5 months after exposure). Dogs are more likely to experience fever, anorexia, depression, extreme tiredness, sudden or recurrent lameness, joint swelling, muscle pain, arthritis, and swollen lymph nodes (Bouchard et. al., 2015). Furthermore, treatment for Lyme disease differs in dogs as there is a vaccine for animals, but not for humans (Bouchard et. al., 2015).

It is important to prevent being bitten by ticks, various methods include cleaning up landscapes, tick checks, showering after being in the forest or by the river (Beard, 2014). Other tips include wearing closed-toe shoes, long-sleeved shirts and pants, light coloured clothing to spot ticks easier, pulling your socks over your pant legs, applying repellants or toxicants to skin or clothing containing DEET, and when hiking stay on paths and avoid contact with overgrown brush (Government of Saskatchewan, 2015).

To deal with Lyme disease the action plan of the Public Health Agency of Canada is built upon three ideas: 1) education and awareness, 2) observation, prevention and control, and 3) research and outcome (Harymann, Ogden, Lindsay, Lawless, Deilgat, and Sternthal, 2014). However, according to Hill (2012) Lyme disease is not among those diseases that are internationally notifiable, it is reported on a province by province basis; only if it is a high risk area or there happens to be an outbreak. This failure in mandatory public health reporting by physicians is due to several factors including lack of knowledge regarding diagnosing Lyme disease, confusion as to which diseases are reportable, and how and whom to report the disease to (Hill, 2012).

This means that there may be more cases of Lyme disease in Saskatchewan than are reported and the disease may be misdiagnosed. The risk of contracting Lyme disease may be higher than reported. Considering that different regions across Canada vary in their risk of contracting Lyme disease, preventative actions should be taken when necessary (Bouchard et. al., 2015). There are multiple measures to deal with ticks for both humans and dogs. The best way to prevent coming into contact with tick and Lyme disease is to avoid tall grass, trees, bushes, and dead piles of leaves, until late-fall (October) (Bouchard et. al., 2015).

dogs ticks black-legged deer lyme disease Canada north America Saskatchewan Saskatoon

Figure 1: Adamson, L. (photographer). (2014). Chief Whitecap Park [Photograph], Retrieved November 15, 2015. Photograph of Casie and Kiya in Chief Whitecap Park, Saskatoon, Sk.

As an avid dog walker, this was not an option so I began to take multiple precautions to deal with ticks every year. After the snow melts and the bugs start to appear my dogs are rounded up and a topical anti-tick product is applied. I try to find an anti-tick product that not only kills ticks after they latch on, but also repels them and other pesky bugs like mosquitos. Second, my dogs are shaved down to a bare minimum amount of fur (to protect them from the heat and sun), so that the ticks are easy to spot and remove. Third, I find the tweezers – for the car, home, and in the purse – as ticks appear in the strangest places. Fourth, to clean the bite from a tick and prevent Lyme disease use an anti-bacterial medicine (I use Polysporin or tea-tree oil), after cleaning the bite mark with rubbing alcohol. Finally, and most importantly, I use Diatomaceous Earth to repel and kill ticks.

Diatomaceous earth has become a life saver, it is a naturally occurring dust that is made up of fossils of algae, and it is effective against insects with stiff hair or rough surfaces on their bodies (Shah and Khan, 2014). This dust when present can repel insects, however if bugs – ticks, ants, spiders, bed bugs – happen to crawl in the diatomaceous earth it has properties that smothers bugs. This dust has many beneficial properties that I was looking for in a bug deterrent. It is important to note that not all types of diatomaceous earth are safe, certain types contain crystalline silica which can cause respiratory problems in humans and animals; it is recommended product contain <1% crystalline silica (SPCA, 2007).

Organic diatomaceous earth is non-toxic to mammals (Shah and Khan, 2014), making it safe to use in and around the home, as well as in vehicles. Second, this dust is easy to remove from surfaces (Shah and Khan, 2014). Third, although you may need large amount of the dust cover every area, it is affordable for a large bag. Furthermore, the dust does not expire and only needs to be reapplied after rain or when it gets blown away/cleaned up. Finally, diatomaceous earth can be applied directly to the dog fur to manage tick or even fleas – ensure they don’t inhale a lot of the dust and that they are showered after a couple of days so the skin does not dry out.

Understanding that the population of ticks is growing and that black-legged or deer ticks have been expanding into Canada due to warmer weather patterns is key to mitigating risk of contracting Lyme disease. Multiple methods of prevention and protection should be used when entering the ticks’ habitat, especially checking yourself and pets daily for ticks. Maintaining a tick free environment at home and on the road for your family can be done with the simple use of diatomaceous earth, obtained from a farm and garden store near you, or on

To help in the research of ticks in Saskatchewan please visit the University of Saskatchewan – Veterinary Clinic for more information on how to submit ticks for identification and testing.

© 2015 Laura Adamson –  All Rights Reserved


Beard, C. B. (2014). Lyme disease prevention and control–the way forward. Inside this issue, 40, 91.

Bouchard, C., Leonard, E., Koffi, J. K., Pelcat, Y., Peregrine, A., Chilton, Rochon, K., Lysyk, T., Lindsay, L. R., and Ogden, N. H. (2015). The increasing Risk of Lyme Disease in Canada. The Canadian Veterinary Journal, 56, 693-699.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2015). Lyme disease. Retrieved from:

Hill, A. (2012). Indifferent reporting of notifiable diseases. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 184(10), E513-E514.

Harymann, M., Ogden, N., Lindsay, R., Lawless. V., Deilgat, M., and Sternthal, S. (2014). Summary of the Public Health Agency of Canada’s Action Plan on Lyme disease. Inside this issue, 40, 91.

Government of Saskatchewan (2015). Lyme disease. Retrieved from:

Levy, S. (2014). Ticking time bomb? Climate change and Ixodes scapularis. Environmental health perspectives, 122(6), A168.

Shah, M. A., & Khan, A. A. (2014). Use of diatomaceous earth for the management of stored-product pests. International Journal of Pest Management, 60(2), 100-113.

SPCA. (April, 2007). Diatomaceous Earth: Its Use and Precautions. The SPCA Certified Guide. Retrieved from:

Streck, Aaron (May 8, 2015). Tick season comes early to Saskatchewan and is expanding. Global New. Retrieved from:

Sutherland, Scott. (2015). Update: Is a belated ‘super’ El Niño in the works for 2015? The Weather Network. Retrieved from: