Thursday, February 07, 2013

The Planning Committee

A lot of people--mostly those who don't have dogs--question whether animals actually think. I propose that not only do they think, they also plan.

At the beginning of the year, I wrote this:
While I'm sitting at the computer, Levi and Gimpy come running around the corner together--it's always both of them--put their front paws first on my knees as they rise up on their hind legs, and then on my shoulders. The trick to getting them down without using force, I've discovered, is to ask one question: "What?" As soon as they hear that word, they jump down, turn around, and walk away, watching me over their shoulders to make sure I'm following them.
When I posted that, Levi and Gimpy were using that technique regularly, but only when they wanted me to set their basket of toys on the floor. They have since expanded it.

All the dog treats in the house are kept together in one cabinet except for a box of extra-large, peanut-flavored biscuits. That box is too big for the cabinet, so it's kept on a shelf about six feet away. The other day, after the dogs signaled me to follow them, the act of rising from my chair was enough to send Gimpy racing around the corner and into his crate, where he sat expectantly, tail wagging. Levi, however, stopped far short of the crate and pointed his nose toward the box of peanut-butter biscuits.

It's the fact that Gimpy ran into his crate that makes me think he and Levi planned this together, right down to the detail of which treat they wanted and who would do the asking. They get treats several times a day--a variety of them, in fact. But those big, peanut-butter biscuits? In an entire day they get only one of those. They get it at bedtime, as soon as Gimpy is in his crate.


  1. It takes a lot of hard work to train your human.

  2. Nice story of collaboration.
    Long time since I had a dog but Irecognise the efforts at communication. :-)

  3. That Levi and Gimpy! They're smart dogs!

    Your dog stories always make me smile. :)

  4. Lovely to read about your clever babies. They are so very cute.
    I have a JR and he is very clever. He knows exactly what he wants and what I want! Good to have them around.


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