By and For People Who Shape The Sport Of Dogs








Barbara J. Andrews, Publisher,


Dumb dog? Are canines incapable of ‘thinking'? We're told that animals can't “think” or reason things out, is this proof that scientists are thick-headed and intellectually blind?


Every owner of a house dog, a hunting dog, or especially a service dog refutes that uninformed, downright dumb assertion. Any professional handler will affirm that some dogs “know” when they walk through the gate into the show ring.



And if your dog only breaks ‘the long down' when you are in the hallway or have your back turned, what do you do? If you're in Obedience class, he knows you have to come all the way back to “correct your dog” and he wags as you approach. Or if he genuinely forgot and just now realized his mistake, he looks away, knowing he's in trouble. Either way, he made you come back…


A medical professional who asked not to be named sent an email and photos of his little dog. He said “She loves to play - it doesn't matter to her if she is playing with her toys, playing with my other dog or with me. She is very independent, she taught herself how to play fetch without a person. She puts the ball on the couch and pushes it off and then goes to fetch it.


But wait! If dogs can't reason, how did she know that repeating an action she would result in the same result? Can't you see the “IDEA!!!” graphic over her head? She accidently let her ball fall from the sofa and it rolled across the room. Did she think the sofa threw it for her as her owners does? Of course not. She “reasoned” that if she did the same thing, she would achieve the same entertaining result.


Without thinking (as we often say) she knew exactly what happened but more to the point, she instantly knew how to repeat the new ball game...


And Judges? How many times have you seen a dog “come alive” when a handler rushes in the ring and takes the lead from his or her assistant? The seasoned show dog knows it is his time to shine!


Most dog training books all say that dogs can't reason or plan ahead. The top Disney dog trainer refuted that in his 1971 book The Koehler Method Of Dog Training. Bill Koehler was one of the best dog trainers I ever knew personally. I taught my obedience classes “Bill's way” and never had a problem case that couldn't be solved IF I was as smart as the dog...


I specialized in “dumb dogs” that could reason well enough to outwit an intelligent owner...


In the late 70s, one of my Akita owners called, amazed and laughing all at the same time. Tamara Warren said “You won't believe what Michiko just did!” but I did… before she even finished telling me this...



She said “Jake was relishing his big meaty bone and Michiko was drooling over it. He stopped gnawing and lifted his lip when she edged closer. She walked away a few feet and sat down. She watched him. He was engrossed in the bone. Then Michiko sashayed across in front of him, went about 6 feet more and then she squatted and pee’d. Jake watched. He stood up, walked over and marked her spot, then scratched dirt over it.


By now I’m smiling as Tamara said “He turned to go back to his bone but Michiko had stolen it. She had it between her front paws and was gnawing on it. Poor Jake, he was never the brightest bulb but he stared at her, she ignored him, and I could see his body kind of sag. Then gentleman that he always is, he just turned and walked away!


As a novice owner, she was blown away. “I thought dogs couldn’t think like us but I was wrong!” I just laughed, no point saying I never said that... Neither would any dog trainer!


Another dog owner, Lilian B said, “My 4 year old Italian Greyhound sleeps with me. I used to keep a dog dish filled with water in the bedroom but tripped on it and spilled it several times and NEVER saw Bidu drinking out of the dish, so I stopped putting the water down for her in the bedroom. The third night of no water dish Bidu stopped at the watering station in the great room for a drink before following me into the bedroom and has done so every night since then. (a year and a half so far) Not reasoning? I don't think so.


How can a species as “advanced” and smart as people be so dumb? You figure it out, after all, you have the power to reason and that canine at your feet is “just a dumb dog…”


Related Article: Proof Dogs Can Reason EST 2005 20S08

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