Why Dogs Are Better Than Humans at Jump Rope

Both people and dogs love to socialize, explore new things, play with balls, eat steak...and, apparently, jump rope. Here stunt dog trainer Samantha Valle shows off how Geronimo can do double dutch.

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Apr 10 2012, 2:30pm

Both people and dogs love to socialize, explore new things, play with balls, eat steak…and, apparently, jump rope. Here stunt dog trainer Samantha Valle shows off how Geronimo can do double dutch.

Turns out it actually might be easier for dogs to see the whirling ropes than it is for uncoordinated astigmatics like myself. Dogs’ eyes have a “flicker rate” that is faster than ours—basically, their image is refreshing at a faster rate, which is why they are better at chasing squirrels, and why a flying rope looks slower to them, and easier to navigate, than it does to us.

Dogs’ faster flicker rate also explains why they don’t love to watch TV. The image on a television screen is updated roughly 60 times per second. Because this is higher than our flicker resolution ability, which is about 55 times per second, it looks to us to be continuous. But it’s refreshing at a rate that’s slower than what a dog can see: about 75 frames per second. So, when dogs watch TV, all they see is flickering light. So your pup might be better than you at double dutch, but he still isn’t going to be able to enjoy Game of Thrones.

Geronimo’s not alone either: witness the Super Wan Wan Circus in Tsukuba City, Japan, whose owner, Uchida Geinousha, is the Guinness World Record for “handler of the most dogs skipping on a rope.”

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