Monday, October 28, 2013

Do Dogs Think?

I often wonder how dogs think.  Do they think "I took two naps now my people should be home"?  Do they watch what their people do and think "those crazy people....where are they always running to"?  A dear friend who is also a respected local dog trainer says that dogs think but not that deeply.  Her position is "dogs are problem solvers".  I can't argue with that - as demonstrated by Thumper in the following tale:

Sunday, as I was leaving to go work on the new house (will it EVER get finished?), I gave each dog a chew bone.  They ran in opposite directions and sat with their bones.  You would think they don't trust each  When I got home later, Lightning had chewed on his, but it still looked new.  Thumper's was a nub. 

I went into the bathroom to run my bathwater, and my two shadows followed me. Thumper took his position on the foot of the bed (his bone was now gone).  Lightning sat on the floor and chewed contentedly on his bone.  Suddenly, Thumper barked. Very loudly. Lightning, who obviously believed he had missed something while chewing on his bone, dropped the bone and scampered out of the room.  Immediately Thumper hopped off the bed, grabbed the bone, and jumped back to his spot.  Thumper's problem-solving process would have been like this....

Problem:  I don't have a bone but there is a bone in this room.
Research:  Lightning has a bone.  Lightning always runs to the door when I bark.  
Solution:  Bark and take Lightnings bone when he drops it and leaves the room.    If it's in my mouth, it's mine, after all. 

Very similar to the scientific method, isn't it?  (Yes, I'm a science nerd....). Next post I'll share how Lightning has figured out to cope with his thieving buddy.  

So long post tonight.  If you stuck with it til the end - thanks!  Do you ever think about stuff like this - do you wonder if your dog is a philosopher like I do?


  1. Oh yes, I think about things like that too! With seven, it seems that somebody is always calculating how to get what another has, especially the little nub of a well chewed hoof.

  2. Sherri....
    What a cute story!! ;op
    --Raelyn and Rose

  3. My dog Christie used to do something similar when Agatha had a toy or chewie she wanted.

    I love the idea of dogs as problem solvers. It's amazing how clever they are.

    Personally, I don't think I could figure out how to get something someone else had nearly as quickly or gracefully as Thumper did.

  4. I do wonder what goes through Gizmo's mind...for instance he always takes exactly the same route from one place to another (like from the driveway to the front door) He never deviates...and i wonder why that route and why it never changes...