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Animals and Reasoning Skills

 
 
Treya
 
Reply Thu 10 Aug, 2006 07:12 am
Do dogs have the ability to reason things out? Weigh their options? Be cunning and sneaky? I guess I never thought about a dog actually being able to reason something out. Weigh his choices... I'm bringing this up because my dog is wicked smart sometimes. I have a little area in my room that is the "cat's area". A table with child gates around it to keep the dog out of her food among "other things". (ack) One of the gates has a hole cut in it so she can go in and out, but the dog can't.

This all started out about two weeks ago. First every night when I got home from work I noticed that the tray the cat food dish is on was moved. Nothing was touched or eaten more than the cat normally eats, but every night it was turned a little bit. Each night a little bit closer to the hole. I thought, "Huh... now why would Petie move her tray like that?" This went on for about a week and I finally realized no... it's not the cat moving it... it's the dog. He's laying down at the hole, sticking his paw in there and trying to pull the tray with the food dish on it close enough to get some. Ok... fine... he hasn't been getting any, so it's all good.

Then last night my dog really stumped me. Every once in a while I forget to put the gate up if the dog is not in the room. Sometimes even if he is. Of course you know the second I walk out of the room he goes and inhales the cat food. *sigh* Well I actually caught him in the act the night before last, gave him a swat on the butt, told him no, and put the gate up. Last night I forgot again to put the gate up while I stepped out of the room for a few minutes. I realized it after about two minutes and ran back to my room to put the gate up.

Two minutes is more than enough time for this dog to inhale an entire bowl of cat food and lick the dish completely clean. Actually I think it takes him about 30 seconds. So I walk into the room and there's Charlie laying on the bed looking innocent. I glanced over at the cat area and it looked untouched. I was like... "Oooooh! What a good boy!" However, upon closer inspection he had in fact gotten into the cat food. He had only eaten half and then jumped back on the bed and laid in the same position he was when I had left the room.

Can animals really reason like this? Or am I just losing my mind?
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Intrepid
 
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Reply Thu 10 Aug, 2006 07:58 am
This does not surprise me at all. My Kelsey has more reasoning power than many of those who post here in the political threads. Razz

Kelsey is a 9 year old black lab cross. I also have an 18 year old cat named Rikki. I live in a 4 level backsplit where Rikki has the run of the upper 2 levels. Kelsey has domain over the lower two levels.

Rikki will not venture into Kelsey's area, but Kelsey has no qualms about invading Rikki's territory. Of course, this only happens when the boss (me) is not home.

A while back I noticed that Rikki's food dish would be completely empty and clean. This was strange since she had never cleaned her bowl out so well in the 18 years she has been with me. This happened a couple days in a row and I suspected Kelsey may have something to do with it. Did I mention that I also have a child gate at the bottom of the stairs to ensure that Kelsey remembers where she lives?

One day I left and when I got to the driveway, I remembered that I forgot something in the house. As soon as the key hit the door I heard a scrambling sound. This was, of course, Kelsey hightailing it out of the kitchen down the stairs. When I got to the stairs I found that Kelsey was lying in front of the sofa in the family room. Her favourite spot. She was averting my look and acting like she was surpised and happy at my early return. She obviously had been opening the gate to get upstairs and the gate was always closed when I came home.

She also has a bit of a jealous nature. We have a 7 year old boy and 12 year old girl that live with us. The boy and I will often play and roughouse in the family room. Kelsey gets a look of disgust (if you can imagine that look on a 110 pound black lab cross) and come and position her body between us. Quite often she will give the boy a hip check as she moves through. If we are playing cars or something on the floor, she will come over and plop herself down between us and give out a sound of hhrmmuppph.

I have caught her jumping up to our pear tree to get a pear which she will throw around like a ball until she gets tired of that. Then, she will lay down and eat the "ball". She also picks raspberries from our bush while looking over her shoulder to ensure that she won't get caught.

Dogs are people too.
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