How Dogs Navigate to Catch Frisbees

Dennis M. Shaffer, Scott M. Krauchunas, Marianna Eddy, Michael McBeath

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


Using micro-video cameras attached to the heads of two dogs, this chapter examines their optical behavior while catching Frisbees. The chapter's findings reveal that dogs use the same viewer-based navigational heuristics previously found with baseball players (i.e., maintaining the target along a linear optical trajectory, LOT, with optical speed constancy). On trials in which the Frisbee dramatically changed direction, the dog maintained an LOT with speed constancy until it apparently could no longer do so and then simply established a new LOT and optical speed until interception. This work demonstrates the use of simple control mechanisms that utilize invariant geometric properties to accomplish interceptive tasks. It confirms a common interception strategy that extends both across species and to complex target trajectories.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHeuristics
Subtitle of host publicationThe Foundations of Adaptive Behavior
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780199894727
ISBN (Print)9780199744282
StatePublished - May 1 2011


  • Animals
  • Gaze
  • Heuristics
  • Interception

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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