Reply Wed 12 Oct, 2005 12:31 pm
I was reading this article and despite there being some evidence that dogs don't think in any way that we do, I can't help but feel that maybe they do.

I don't believe that dogs act out of spite or that they can plot retribution, though countless dog owners swear otherwise. To punish or deceive requires the perpetrator to understand that his victim or object has a particular point of view and to consciously work to manipulate or thwart it. That requires mental processes dogs don't have.

If this is the case, it would also be true that dogs don't feel. If that is true, why do animals look so sad or morn a lost member of the family, even when there is still some one there to feed them and take care of their basic needs? Why do we feel the anxiety and sadnesss or joy of our pets?

What do you think? Do you think that dogs are able to think in any way like humans do and feel the emotions we feel?

Do Dogs Think?
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Reply Wed 12 Oct, 2005 07:10 pm
An interesting question on what is for me an interesting dog day.

I don't know if dogs feel emotions per se.... but I do belive that they feel, or think.

My older dog, Bakker, had to make an emergency trip to the vet today. She's been seriously sick for years but her condition has been managed with careful medicine.

The night before last she became very sick despite having just had her shot. Through the day she didn't improve. Last night she laid in the floor of our room -- an unusual place for her to sleep.

This morning she went to the vet. We just found out that she has to stay there at least overnight. She might not make it.

My other dog, Bird, her constant companion, is in an absolute panic.

Is she "worried"?

I don't know.

Does she know I'm worried?

I don't know.

Obviously she knows that something isn't right.

Is that indicitive of thinking, or routine?

But doesn't the recognition of disrupted routine indicate thinking?

I believe it does.

So yes, I do belive that dogs think.
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Reply Wed 12 Oct, 2005 07:24 pm
I believe dogs think.

Some better than others....They may not all be "Lassie's", but they definitely show I.Q's.

We've raised hunting dogs, their abilities they show in hunting will amaze some. Others they think its cruel..but I won't get into that one..

Dogs...Well, let me put it this way. If a dog can't think...then why is it, when we turn them out in an unfamiliar place some 10 miles off away from home, and the next day, they are either back, where we turned them out, waiting on us...or they will make their way, and come all the way home?

That shows an ability to think.
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Merry Andrew
Reply Wed 12 Oct, 2005 07:42 pm
The answer to that question depends entirely on what we mean by "think." They are not able to reason things out the way primates can because of their relatively small brain capacity. But they do have memories (Pavlov demonstrated this fairly conclusively) and therefore are quite aware that certain actions have certain guaranteed counter-actions. Thus they learn to avoid certain things and situations and enthusiastically look forward to others. (If this weren't so, you could never toilet train a dog.) Is this thinking? You decide.

As for "feeling," that's an entirely different kettle of fish. Emotions have nothing to do with rational thought. Of course dogs feel fear, grief at the passing of a loved one and other rudimentary emotions. They make their feelings quite plain. If you've ever had a dog, you know what exultant joy they feel -- and demonstrate -- when you return from a trip.
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Reply Wed 12 Oct, 2005 07:45 pm
Hahahahhaha! You bet my Tex thinks. Absolutely scared of rain/thunderstorms! Last week , I woke up at 6 & found my yellowdog Tex in my bathtub.
Just sitting.
You bet, dogs think. And, thank God they do not think the way we do. They are a companions through life. Very basic needs. And good post, Bella, having said that, I will now hug my yellowdogTex. :-)
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Reply Wed 12 Oct, 2005 08:00 pm
I like Merry Andrew and Decartes:

They can change behavior, therefore they reason.

Years ago I was on crutches and grocery shopping for a family of seven.

Cassandra, Dog of the Era, liked to ride along with me in the pickup truck.

We came home with fourteen bags of groceries and I told her, "Ok. Up on the porch." She gave me a wicked look and took off around the house. I sighed and started hauling groceries.

By the time I had the first bag of halfway up the side walk she was on the porch, very smug, very virtuous.
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Reply Wed 12 Oct, 2005 08:17 pm
Of course they doubt about that!
My dogs sulk! shockingly...
My foxy takes off for her nightly neighborhood raids to return with the neighbors rubbish, I walk out and go 'Whats all this sh.t' and she is off like a bull at the gate!

My Springer Spaniel loved the new kitten and gently use to carry her around in the back yard, kitten dangling from her mouth, the kitten was quite relaxed about it all, they were great pals...when the cat got run over and died 2 years later, the dog went nuts ran around the house with her nose up in the air panicking.....thats when I found the dead cat out on the Road...boy did she mope for ages, fretting.

My dogs hide bones from each other, they tease each other to no end, they snap when they get annoyed with each other, so you tell me do they think???......yep these little guys do!
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Reply Wed 12 Oct, 2005 08:23 pm
My Golden Retreiver was one of the most human dogs I've ever seen or known.
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Reply Wed 12 Oct, 2005 08:51 pm
I believe they do. The think and they feel.
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Reply Wed 12 Oct, 2005 08:59 pm
what defines thinking?
Embedded physical memories recalled at will?

I think that dogs think on a very simple level.
They dont have the ability for such " complex" thoughts as the word WHY . Nor do they have the capacity to comprehend its meaning. I believe the thought of "why" is what makes us humans what we are when it comes to thinking beings.

But, to say that an animal has no capacity for thought because they can not use the concept of 'why' cant be true

It takes thought to be able to recognize and react to gut feelings and instinct. It takes a thought process to react to fear, It takes thought to respond to their masters tone of voice and not the words

Dogs think.. ;-)
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Reply Wed 12 Oct, 2005 09:08 pm
Dogs think, though not in the way humans do it. My dog knows every move I make, even if she's asleep on the porch and I'm inside the house. I tricked her into going outside a couple of times at dinner time and she made the connection by herself. Now, when we set food on the table, she goes outside, unbidden. My last dog understood when I spoke. I always told her what to do in sentences. I could bury the word "bath" in a whole paragraph of sentences, but she would pick up on it and go out the doggie door. There are countless ways she shows that she thinks rather than merely reacts to stimuli.
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Reply Thu 13 Oct, 2005 06:11 am
Jake (the first dog RP and I had together) had what I believe was a measure of self-awareness. One day, we decided he should be a bandanna-wearing dog. He was just that kind of a big galoot, looked a lot like an Anatolian Shepherd. So I put a red bandanna on him one day and he ran upstairs. Huh? RP and I followed him and found him in the room with the full-length mirror, checking himself out.
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Reply Thu 13 Oct, 2005 06:29 am
Haha, SOME dogs surely think. We had an extra smart mut, Filip was his name. He picked on me, as I'm the youngest in the family. We competed for the position of a spoiled brat. He, otherwise extremely well mannered would wait until nobody else was looking but me, then carefully take a paper napkin from the table and run under a big couch we have to sneak just into the spot where i can't reach him lest i rip my head off. there he would proceed to shred the napkin into million pieces looking me in the eye. he knew it drove me berserk. little devil.
we also played hide and seek, sort of. i would wait around the corner and jump out and startle him, and he picked it up. he'd sneak from up behind or around the corner and bark, startling the living dayilights out of me... the smartest little dog i've ever seen.
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Merry Andrew
Reply Thu 13 Oct, 2005 11:21 am
Shewolf, right on! I think you've nicely captured the difference between human and canine 'thinking.'
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