November 11, 2005
The Canine Mystique
I just want to speak up for my fellow dogs (you cats are on your own): in the animal kingdom, we are not just another pretty hairy face. We dogs shouldn't have to submit to stereotypes just because people like the way the our tails swoosh as we prance across the living room. We wish to be loved but not objectified by LL Bean catalogs and those sundry playmate-of-the-month dog calendars that are sold out during every Christmas holiday.
We are, after all, more than the sum of our looks. Consider the scientific evidence gathered by the likes of research fellow Adam Miklosi of the Eotvos Lorand University in Budapest. He and his colleagues have found that "dogs have far greater mental capabilities than scientists had thought." So, put that in a 6x8 frame on your side table, why don't you?
Look, up till now, a lot of people have been thinking that just because we're good (and good-looking) dogs, we must also be relatively slow-witted compared with our bad-boy wolf ancestors. I call it the Canine Mystique. In reality, studies show that it's not that we dogs can't quickly learn how to do certain things, such as open gates in our backyards on our own, it's that we like to play by the rules. We just want permission before we show off our brilliance, which is actually another sign of that brilliance.
Or consider this from CBS News: "In one classic experiment on dogs' use of human visual cues, food is hidden in one of several scent-proof containers. The animal is allowed to choose only one. Beforehand, the experimenter signals the correct choice by staring, nodding, or pointing at it."
It turns out that chimps pretty much flunk out when given this test. Dogs, on the other hand, ace it with ease, speed, and grace. Why? Because we're flat out better than any other species in the world at tuning into humans. In fact, we're even better than the not-really-so-great apes at imitating people. Miklosi says that dogs are "very motivated to cooperate with and act like people." So, the cliche should actually be "Doggy see, doggy do."
Well, sometimes I'm not sure why we bother, for all the respect we get. They come home to us after a long day at the office but all they really see is their loving, photogenic house dog, a bit of domesticated cuteness just waiting at their beck and call. From now on, people should respect our minds as well. I am Labrador - hear me roar!
Hi "Brilliant Hank",
Thanks for visiting us. Your dlog is great too! Is it all right if we add a link to yours on ours?
- Leader Dog Willow, and Stella
What can I say, I have to admit that I love the attention that my mommy gives me. I just play the part and she is at MY beck & call!!!
Hey, yes we're adorable and all, and compared to other animals humans are very compatible companions for us.
After all, we've had humans as pets for thousands of years and they are just about ready to understand our language. Take for instance, my humans: Just the other day one of them actually took me outside when I asked them! It was truly unbelievable!
If it wasn't for the "bark-to-typolator" I invented, the humans wouldn't even be able to understand my blog!
Hey, wait, looks like you invented one too! All for now, see ya Hank!
My hooman read ,
Four men were bragging about how smart their dogs were. The first manwas an Engineer, the second an Accountant, the third man a Chemist, and the fourth a Government worker.
To show off, the Engineer called to his dog, "T-Square, do your stuff!" T- Square trotted over to the desk, took out some paper and a pen and prompty drew a circle, a square, and a triangle. Everyone agreed that T-Square was pretty smart!
But the Accountant said his dog could do better. He called his dog and said, "Spreadsheet, show 'em how smart you are!" Spreadsheet went out into the kitchen, and returned with a dozen cookies. He divided them into 4 equal piles of 3 cookies each. Everyone agreed, that was good!
But the Chemist said his dog could do even better. He called his dog and said, "Measure, do your thing!" Measure got up, walked over to the fridge, took out a quart of milk, got a 10-ounce glass from the cupboard and poured exactly 8 ounces without spilling a drop. Everyone oohed and ahhhed and were quite impressed!
Then the three men turned to the Government Worker, and said, "What can your dog do?" The Government Worker called to his dog and said, "Coffee Break, do your stuff!!" Coffee Break jumped to his feet, ate all the cookies, drank the milk, shit on the paper, sexually assaulted the other three dogs, claimed he injured his back while doing so, filed agrievance report for unsafe working conditions, put in for Worker's Compensation, and went home for the rest of the day on sick leave!!!! LOL!
Well, now that you mention it, it's true I haven't heard of too many training schools for cats, though some cats I know might say that's because they're already know-it-alls and have nothing new to learn. Ah well, we all like attention to some degree, don't we. I bet even Betty Friedan enjoys the occasional complement, if not wolf whistle.
Hi Cal the Wonderdog,
Welcome. I wonder if you're on to something. I'm wondering if humans have evolved to understand dogs better. Sounds like a thesis for future geneticist to me.
Hi Sam I Am,
Pretty funny. I guess there's a lot of truth to "doggy see, doggy do." How often do you find that people are very much like their dogs? You've got to wonder who is imitating whom.