Saturday, 27 June 2009

a dog thinks through a problem

Today two household humans and a non-dog-owning visitor witnessed Penny solving a spatial problem. She had been outside with us as we looked around the garden and she missed out on coming in through the door with us, so she had to come in through the little swinging doggy door.

But there was a problem. Penny had a stick in her mouth and the stick was too wide to fit through the door. She tried a time or two but got stuck. So she took a grip on one end of the stick and tried to open the door with it, but couldn't get enough pressure on the swinging door to make it open. We stood and watched her, convinced there was some level of problem-solving occurring. However, it seemed more of a trial-and-error process than a logical thought sequence.

But...she stepped through the door without the stick, seemed to be considering the situation and then pushed the door open with her head, grabbed the stick end-on and pulled her head back into the room.

It sure looked like problem-solving to us.

Here's the door.

And here's the stick after some enjoyable chewing. (It was a soft stick so we thought it was safe to leave her with it. Anyway, any dog who had worked so hard deserved the enjoyment of the fruits of her labor.)


curator said...

I don't doubt for a minute that Penny is fully equal to a thought-provoking problem! I am glad she got the treat of a stick.

Noah the Airedale said...

Ahhhh now you are a very clever dog Penny. I dont think I would have worked that out.


Mary said...

I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it for myself. It was amazing.

Living said...

Oh, dogs have problem solving skills alright. My dog (who passed away a week ago) liked fruit off our tree. But he preferred it when it was drier. But then the insects and birds would get it.

So, what we saw him do was... pick the fruit off the tree directly, by standing up and pushing the branch down from the trunk by walking along, until he could reach the fruit on the branch.

Dropping it, picking more fruit without getting off.
Then, he went and buried the fruit in a stockpile. Came back to it a week later when it was nice and dry and bird free, and enjoyed.

parlance said...

Noah, maybe you would have figured it out if there had been a nice piece of frozen fish outside the little door!

parlance said...

Mary, I'm glad you've commented here as my impartial (??) witness.

parlance said...

Living (or "Livie") I'm so sorry to hear about your dog's death. It must leave a hole in your life, but I hope you have other lovely memories besides the cleverness with fruit.
I had a look at your miniatures blog - what wonderful photos! I'll be visiting again to see new ones in the future.

parlance said...

Curator, never let it be said we don't reward Penny for her cleverness!