Can you train a dog to talk ? Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Bodlina
Reports suggest that the Nazis attempted to train an army of talking dogs, but just how true is this ?
One of the stranger stories to come out of World War II, the idea that the Germans were training an army of intelligent dogs is based on the activities of Margarethe Schmidt who in 1930 owned a dog that gave birth to a litter of five puppies.
According to reports, the Schmidts had somehow managed to teach the dogs to talk and to perform feats of intelligent reasoning that would seem to be impossible. The training was said to be so effective in fact that the dogs were eventually sent to work for the Nazis by giving the soldiers an edge in the battlefield.
If all this sounds far-fetched then that's probably because it is. While the Schmidts likely did train dogs to perform tricks, their feats would have been more like those of circus animals.
Feats of intelligence from the dogs were attributed to the 'Clever Hans effect' in which the animal is simply responding to subtle clues in the body language of its owner. The dogs didn't speak either, according to witness reports.
Ultimately, Margarethe Schmidt herself is said to have admitted that she had received no money from the Nazis to train the dogs and that their tricks were little more than a circus act.
Source: io9.com | Comments (23)
Dog, Word War II