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Physicists Discover Universal "Wet-Dog Shake" Rule 97

Posted by samzenpus
from the thank-you-science dept.
Dog owners can sleep easy tonight because physicists have discovered how rapidly a wet dog should oscillate its body to dry its fur. Presumably, dogs already know. From the article: "Today we have an answer thanks to the pioneering work of Andrew Dickerson at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta and a few buddies. But more than that, their work generates an interesting new conundrum about the nature of shaken fur dynamics. Dickerson and co filmed a number of dogs shaking their fur and used the images to measure the period of oscillation of the dogs' skin. For a labrador retriever, this turns out to be 4.3 Hz."
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Physicists Discover Universal "Wet-Dog Shake" Rule

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  • Tragedy (Score:4, Funny)

    by Sonny Yatsen (603655) * on Thursday October 21, 2010 @11:06AM (#33974660) Journal

    Let's hope this doesn't catch on in Japan. We don't need Dog shaking machines to complement their dog washing machines.

  • ...finally solved. The world is saved!
    • That's the neat thing about science, every little bit helps.

    • My question was never "how does a dog shake so as to dry his fur?" but rather "WHY must my dog walk up next to me immediately before doing so?"
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        My question was, "Can you stop a dog from shaking once it started?"

        I had to give my dog baths all the time when I was a kid. Of course the first thing he would do is shake him self off once he was out of the bath. One time, out of curiosity, I stopped him mid-shake by holding the back part of his body (since the shake from head to tail). I held him for about a minute and then let him go. He finished his shake starting from the point he was at before I stopped him in the middle. Over the course of the ne

        • I find if I grab my dog at the shoulders and hold him still right as he's beginning his shake, I can stop it in much the same way you can stifle a sneeze. Not exactly a Stupid Pet Trick(TM) , but it comes in handy sometimes.
      • We have two dogs, one of which almost always goes about fifteen feet away from us before shaking. She's really smart in a lot of ways. The other dog is really friendly and endearing, at least.
  • Ig Noble... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Defenestrar (1773808) on Thursday October 21, 2010 @11:10AM (#33974718)
    Here we come!!!
    • by WhiteDragon (4556)

      Ig Noble... Here we come!!!

      I agree, this is almost a shoe-in to win an Ig Nobel!

      • by RockDoctor (15477)

        Ig Noble... Here we come!!!

        I agree, this is almost a shoe-in to win an Ig Nobel!

        Spelling mistake, or light-brown brogue reference?

        • by WhiteDragon (4556)

          Ig Noble... Here we come!!!

          I agree, this is almost a shoe-in to win an Ig Nobel!

          Spelling mistake, or light-brown brogue reference?

          no, it really is spelled Ig Nobel [improbable.com]

          • by RockDoctor (15477)

            Ig Noble... Here we come!!!

            I agree, this is almost a shoe-in to win an Ig Nobel!

            Spelling mistake, or light-brown brogue reference?

            no, it really is spelled Ig Nobel [improbable.com]

            Errr, "Woosh"?

            I've been laughing to the Igs for years. I'm making reference to the inspirational shoe-bomber, Richard Reed, who's non-exploding training shoes have since inspired a catalogue of imitators to throw footware at the rich, famous, evil and/ or retarded (or in the case of Dubya, all four with one shoe).

            • by srodden (949473)
              Woosh indeed :-) Tread lightly around this one. He doesn't realise how many steps are required for an unintentional pun.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 21, 2010 @11:12AM (#33974750)

    The formula is significant for us in the ad/entertainment industry who relies on algorithms to animate such motions. It sure beats trying to manually animating each fur (impossible), or coming up with a workaround that only approximates reality through trial and error. This will significantly reduce render times.

    The same could be said about fluid dynamics a decade ago - now we can create whole above/underwater environments within the computer - saving time and cost of flooding entire soundstages.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by tacktick (1866274)
      Or you could just film a real dog or two that is similar to what you are animating. The "researchers" didnt even come up with a good formula for predicting it based on dog size. Probably because it varies for different breeds and what doggie chow he eats.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by spammeister (586331)
      I read that at first as "...us in the adult entertainment industry...".

      Must be a particularily (weird) subset of that industry for shaking wet dogs...
    • by sg_oneill (159032)

      It might actually also be really damn useful to the textiles industry. If you can work out a formula that said "For a piece of cloth like this, you need to shake at (say) at x frequency for y minutes to dry", you could make drycleaning a much easier process. Theres a LOT of applications for this.

  • by clang_jangle (975789) on Thursday October 21, 2010 @11:12AM (#33974766) Journal
    We have Classic Poop, New Poop, Cherry Poop, Diet Poop, Salty Lemonade, and our new Wet Dog Shake!
  • Not yet... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Ecuador (740021) on Thursday October 21, 2010 @11:13AM (#33974790) Homepage

    Ok, FTFA, it seems that the researchers did a very simplistic model and then found some videos so that they can measure what the animals actually do and noticed that they did not fit their model. So, nothing to see here until someone really sits down and models the wet dog oscillations with accuracy and tell us what the optimal frequency is (so that we can teach our dog if it is not that good with drying of course!).

    • by delinear (991444)
      And we wonder why science facilities always panic when governments announce austerity measures are on the cards...
    • by powerlord (28156) on Thursday October 21, 2010 @11:39AM (#33975190) Journal

      Ok, FTFA, it seems that the researchers did a very simplistic model and then found some videos so that they can measure what the animals actually do and noticed that they did not fit their model. So, nothing to see here until someone really sits down and models the wet dog oscillations with accuracy and tell us what the optimal frequency is (so that we can teach our dog if it is not that good with drying of course!).

      Nah, there are easier ways to get dry. My dog quickly moved from the "shake myself dry method" to the "the rug and furniture are my towel method".

      She's found this to be truly superior although some preliminary research showing a combined "shake myself dry" followed by "the rug and furniture are my towel" method may be her best option.

      When I told her to get off the couch she just grinned and said "I'm a bitch, deal with it."

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by ffreeloader (1105115)

        My dog, at three months old, has adopted that same method, only he looks at me and says, deal with it, I'm a 3 pound bastard so you just try and stop me. He then runs all around the house like a maniac another couple of times rubbing against everything made of fabric.... I think it's probably his favorite thing to do. He looks and acts like he's having more fun than a barrel of monkeys. I don't think I could stop him with anything less than a .45.

      • I tried replacing the "the rug and furniture are my towel method" with the "insert into the microwave method"
        and did not turn out too well, I was wanting to save money on towels and now instead I am saving money on dog food.

    • Seems like there would be a _minimum_ shaking velocity of the fur itself, just to dislodge the water. Anything faster than that would also work, but expend more energy.

      You also have to take into account the fact that with each oscillation, the dog's trunk reaches some maximum stretch limit, at which time muscles in the reverse direction kick in and make them go the other way. But the maximum velocity would be reached somewhere near the middle of an oscillation.

      Wouldn't you model this more like a sprin

  • Why? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Quantus347 (1220456) on Thursday October 21, 2010 @11:16AM (#33974826)
    What possible application could this research be for? In what way does this benefit mankind, expand out understanding of the universe, or improve the Human Condition. And perhaps the most important question, what moron paid for this? Please tell me it wasn't taxpayer money, because then technically I am one of the morons, and I don't very much appreciate it!
    • by LingNoi (1066278)

      I could see it possibly being useful for animation if they can come up with an accurate model for shaking water off of fur and other materials.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by bamwham (1211702)
      While I'm not an expert, I speculate that potential applications would include: using a similar model to study cilial action in human lungs or gut; developing of advanced fabrics which shed water more efficiently; developing algorithms for robotics (I'm thinking in particular military applications) to dry themselves in the wild. The beauty of science to me is that someone answers what appears to be a relatively innocuous and useless question and often can't tell where it might lead. We (often) can't just d
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by John Hasler (414242)

      > Please tell me it wasn't taxpayer money

      They borrowed against their igNobel winnings.

    • Re:Why? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by bkaul01 (619795) on Thursday October 21, 2010 @03:32PM (#33979152)

      What possible application could this research be for?

      If they're scientists rather than engineers, the obvious answer is, "Who cares?" ... Perhaps the most distinguishing aspect of "science" is that it's a search for knowledge for its own sake, not tied to a practical application. Engineering research is generally tied to something practical. Scientific research need not be. That's not to say that scientists never take up research that has practical application, just that the mindset of a scientist is that the practical application isn't the ultimate goal: the knowledge itself is. If you're curious about dog-fur-shaking, research it. That's science.

      That said, the dynamics of water droplets on fibrous materials probably aren't well understood, given that there are open questions about the dynamics of liquid films on some solid surfaces [1], and there are numerous applications that could be imagined there - filters, absorptive mats, perhaps new methods of creating sprays using some sort of shaking synthetic fibers, etc. If we only studied the questions for which the technological benefit was directly obvious, we'd still be in the pre-industrial era. I don't know if this particular study was well-designed or will provide useful information, but any knowledge has potential to prove valuable, often in areas not directly related to the question that was being studied initially. These studies may sound silly when explained superficially, but that doesn't mean they're worthless.

      [1]The breakup and atomization of the shear-driven fuel film on an intake valve at cold start in a PFI gasoline engine, for example, depends on whether the film will separate from the valve surface when it reaches the corner, or flow around the corner and down the side. This is a relatively simple problem, geometrically, but the interplay of surface tension, viscosity, inertia, and the boundary with the air flow is something that current models really didn't handle at all until a year or two ago - the experimental side of the project is something that a couple of the MS students in my research group were working on while I was in grad school. Something as complicated as how the effect of the frequency of the oscillations of the underlying layer to which fibers are attached affects the behavior of droplets clinging to those fibers is more complex, and thus I would guess it's most likely not understood well at all at the level of being able to explain and model it in detail.

  • by PatPending (953482) on Thursday October 21, 2010 @11:17AM (#33974848)
    Leave it to a bunch of nerds to focus on wet dogs. I for one would rather focus on wet t-shirts: what is the period of oscillation of those boobs?
    • by tool462 (677306) on Thursday October 21, 2010 @12:00PM (#33975498)

      It's just a mass on a spring, so I assume sqrt(k/m) is a pretty good approximation. We'll need a pretty good sample size to determine k to a reasonable level of precision though. I'll work on collecting data, can you write up the grant proposal?

      • It's just a mass on a spring...

        That statement generally implies a weightless spring with motion of the weight along the spring axis. You have a very interesting concept of breast oscillations...

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by tool462 (677306)

          Sorry for the confusion. I was assuming they were spherical breasts in a vacuum.

    • by gstoddart (321705)

      Leave it to a bunch of nerds to focus on wet dogs. I for one would rather focus on wet t-shirts: what is the period of oscillation of those boobs?

      I'll be in my bunk pondering that.

    • by Spyder (15137)

      They started that study at the same time, but they're still gathering data. I think it might take a while.....

    • by geekoid (135745)

      Well, I do know the angle of my dangle is the inverse of the heat of my meat. And the heat of my meat is in square of by the jiggle of the boob

      (AoD/HomM) * (JotB) sqr

  • A shit... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by AdamsGuitar (1171413)
    Who gives one?
  • ...who will win the IgNobel Prize for Physics next year.

  • We have two dogs: a sparsely haired Chinese Crested and a rather fuzzy Bichon cross. They are about the same Sd (dog shake diameter) but we have been bothered for a long time by the dissonance created by the subtle difference in their Fd (dog shake frequency). The resulting low frequency rumble has attracted what we thought were "Graboids" but in reality were just large, obnoxious, pocket gophers. Time to reach for the Rodenator.

    Thanks to this article, we have successfully brought them into tune with ea

  • Maybe, mabe not... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jpbelang (79439) on Thursday October 21, 2010 @11:57AM (#33975450) Journal

    I don't know how seriously the scientist took this research.

    But I do remember that Richard Feynman wrote a paper on the wobbling movement of a spinning plate. He did this because he was depressed and had scientific writer's block. And nobody would deny the importance of his later work.

    Science is science. If what they find is correct in the scientific sense, it really doesn't bother me too much.

    I'd be worried if scientists started really competing for the Ig Nobel prizes. But I doubt that they ever will :-).

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by natehoy (1608657)

      This is a graduate student doing some "tabletop science" in the lab. His specialty in the lab is "Animal Cleaning" http://www.me.gatech.edu/hu/Research/lab.html [gatech.edu] . I doubt he's trying for anything except his thesis.

      I'd say he did a pretty good job building a preliminary predictive model and testing against that model and refining it. And it stands to reason that animals shaking water out of their fur might be of interest to him, since he probably bathes animals on a pretty regular basis and observes the

    • by Fnkmaster (89084)

      In fact, I believe one of this year's Nobel physics laureates, Andre Geim, who won for his work related to graphene (the graphite-sheet-like carbon form that's all the research rage right now) has also previously received an IgNobel award.

      Specifically for levitating a frog using magnetic fields.

      Research can have some humor in it, and sometimes mixing the trivial with the serious helps get you through an otherwise boring day.

  • by Cornwallis (1188489) on Thursday October 21, 2010 @12:03PM (#33975548)

    I smell pork.

    • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

      by geekoid (135745)

      Yeah, how dos feel over there in no thinking required land? Warm and comfortable, no doubt.

  • by MaWeiTao (908546)

    Claiming that a dog dries his fur by shaking is a bit of a stretch. They shake off excess water, but you're still left with a rather wet dog.

  • I hope the Nobel committee has been notified! Now all that they need it to make the doggy-sweater with piezoelectric fibers and we can reduce our fossil fuel dependence. Note to self: invest in IAMS
  • the speed that my dog shakes seems directly related to how much soap is on him when i bath him and whether or not i'm wearing my glasses....
  • by John Hasler (414242) on Thursday October 21, 2010 @12:29PM (#33975990) Homepage

    ...a spherical dog of uniform density?

  • by blair1q (305137) on Thursday October 21, 2010 @12:35PM (#33976090) Journal

    Now that they have solved this pressing problem, the researchers have moved on to filling out grant application for their next project: the Large Doberman Collider.

  • Why would they assume the dog would shake perfectly? As long as it's good enough, evolution doesn't care.

  • And does it matter at what rate a girl jiggles her body?

    'Nuff said.

    Ig Porno awards, here i comes! (Cums?)

    • by RockDoctor (15477)

      Ig Porno awards, here i comes! (Cums?)

      Where? (The igPorno awards, not your cum. That, I assume, is in your omphalos, where it should be. )

  • Long haired Blondes coming out of the pool have a similar method of drying their hair.
    They could have just studied this.

    -But then again, for physicists wet dogs are probably easier to acquire.
    Never mind then.

  • To all who criticize the money spent on this research: Do you really think we ever can or should stop a question from being answered? Are not scientists in their position because at some point they were curious about the world and went about getting educated in skillfully pursuing answers? I think in this case a simple question was answered and presented decently with the first empirical data. Next, they can dig out a theoretical model that fit the observed data. If they struggle finding a good theoretical
    • OK, but can we please spend the money on more beneficial questions?
      How about "Why do so many men enjoy watching Girl on Girl porn? If we could get a meaningful answer to that, men all over the world could say something like:
      "Honey, don't do it for me, do it for my under stimulated Limbic system. Think of Cheri here as a therapist of sorts. Besides, I have a note from my Doctor (along with his video camera)... and there is a scientific study to back this all up."
  • Introducing:
    TCP over Wet Dog... you can tell if it's active by the smell!
  • This is such an amazing time in history. It's such a wonderful time to be a wet dog.

  • For a labrador retriever, this turns out to be 4.3 Hz."

    Yes but where do I get a labrador for that dog to retrieve.

  • These scientists must be getting bored believing that random data will help some future discovery. My dog, Nikita, hates the water; but she loves to eat watermelon and wear her favorite large dog clothes [clothes4largedogs.com].

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