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Friday, May 11, 2012

Wonder what this little guy is thinking?

Do Animals Like Dogs and Bigfoot Think?

By Dorraine Fisher

Do animals think? I’ve been laughing at this question for years.

There was a recent scientific study of dogs' brains. Scientists realized they could teach dogs to sit
still for a brain scan and respond to commands and certain words during the test. And they observed
the dogs’ brain reactions during their responses to them. And, based on their reactions, they finally
concluded that animals like dogs must have cognitive abilities. Scientists had been pondering this
question for years and I don’t really know why. Because if you want to know if animals think, all you have to do is live with them or watch them in nature.
I’ve had close encounters with many animals while I’ve been out hiking, and even some in my backyard. I came face to face with a coyote that stopped about twenty feet away from me and we shared well over thirty seconds of close eye contact. I could see his eyes very well as he wasn’t moving, but I could definitely tell he was thinking.

And on another occasion, while hiking the family farm, a mother white-tail deer slipped out of the woods into the clearing with what looked to be a fairly young baby. She wasn’t more than thirty feet away and seemed concerned when she suddenly saw me, but not enough to flee. She looked at me and then she looked at her baby, and at me again, and then at the baby again. She was clearly sizing up the level of threat and expressing concern for her offspring. And she stood there “thinking” for a while before she slowly slipped into the brush with the fawn close behind.
And near my backyard one year, a mother fox raised three kits under my next-door neighbor’s porch. When I decided to take her picture, she let me get pretty close to her, I suppose, as long as I didn’t get close to the babies who were playing, unaware, directly behind her. But you could tell they weren’t far from her thoughts as her head kept turning to watch them seemingly with one eye as she watched me with the other. She was raising those little ones right in suburbia surrounded by people, dogs, and vehicles.
All these animals had thought in their eyes and in their actions. They were sizing me up, trying to decide if I was a threat; plotting an escape route or plan of attack if necessary. But you could see the wheels turning inside those minds, just like you could with any human.
I used to have a Boxer dog that proved the point and took animal thinking to a new level.
One night at bedtime, I got her up and told her to go outside and do her evening business. It was late and we were both tired, but she just looked at me and wouldn’t make a move to go outside.
“You go,” I insisted. But she just stared up at me like I was the worst, most cruel mother in the world.
This went on for a while and I was starting to get impatient. I wanted to go to bed. So I stood there and kept insisting, and when she realized I wasn’t letting up, she finally went out the door.
I watched her go around to the side of house where she thought I couldn’t see her. And I, feeling a little curious, went to the bedroom window to watch and make sure she was doing what she was supposed to do. But instead of squatting, she just stood there in the dark for a minute. And she then turned and ran back to the door.
When she met me there, she wagged her tail with a tinge of nervousness (I’d seen that look before) and glanced up at me with her little dog smile as if to say, “I did what you asked me to.”
In essence, the dog lied to me.
That dog thought out her little plan of deception and attempted to implement it. And the only advantage I had over her was a bigger brain.
In order for an animal to survive and procreate, they MUST be able to think. In order for an animal to hunt, they must be capable of some form of deception. And deception requires thought and planning. And it’s no different for any animal whether it’s your pets, or even Bigfoot. If you’ve lived with animals, you know they dream, they plot ways to manipulate you and get what they want, and they study you to find out what works with you and what doesn’t.
All this requires a thinking mind. And I’m still laughing.

[TCC - Dorraine Fisher is a freelance writer and nature and wildlife enthusiast. She is also a TCC Team Member]
©The Crypto Crew

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  1. I've had nine rats over the years and, similarly to your dog, they are real deceptive problem solvers. They know that if the oven beeps, there's food cooking and they'll come running, (I'm one of those sad people that sometimes prepares cooked food my animals). If i sit on the sofa first thing in the morning i'll be eating cereal and they'll wait on the sofa for me. They know what time i leave for work and that they'll have to go back in their cage, so they'll run off and stand under the bed, right in the middle of the floor where they can't be reached.

    They like to collect things too. Little trophies. Socks, tissues, pens, i even watched one drag a large screw driver down the hall. Now, if that's not for food or survival - purely because she LIKED the screwdriver... that's got to involve thought?

    1. Nine rats? I guess to each his/her own. That's creepy dude.


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