With respect to the question of dogs thinking, my dog trainer friend sums her opinion up as, "Dogs are problem solvers". Thumper has demonstrated that on MANY occasions, some of which result in Lightning losing a chew bone. I think Lightning has been taking notes from his buddy....read on and compare to Thumper's scheme. My take on Lightning's thoughts are represented by bold print.
The scene: Family room, where Thumper is lounging on the fancy posturepedic dog bed while Lightning is on the rug. All the people are present.
Result: Thumper saw Lightning getting pets, and immediately he left the comfy dog bed to come bump him out of the way and take his place. Lightning ran over and took over the comfy dog bed. Problem solved!
As for the bones, Lightning discovered that he can hide his bones upstairs under a bed that Thumper can't quite crawl under. Lol. Thumper is not fond of the stairs, but Lightning loves them. He always has. He runs up and down them like it's an A frame on an agility course. So, much to my surprise one day, I heard scrambling up the stairs and some noise from the bedroom, and then Lightning appeared with his bone. I didn't know he had it in him to outsmart Thumper about the bones, but he did.
So, my conclusion is that yes, dogs think. I doubt that they sit around plotting how to outdo each other. I think it's purely spontaneous. I've seen them think on their feet and come up with a fix for a problem as it happens - which makes sense because I think we've all witnessed that dogs are "in the moment". They leave the big thinking and worrying to us. ;)
Now I feel better.....finally got this one done. In other news - still going to obedience class with Thumper, and he's giving me some blog fodder for future posts. Lightning is jealous of all the treats Thumper gets while training and does not hesitate to let me know it.