Thursday, January 17, 2008

Can dogs count?

If I’m handing out treats, first to one dog, then the other, and if for some reason I miss somebody’s turn, the missed dog gets highly agitated--and vocal about it--until I correct my error. I’ve also wondered if Butch, my blind dog, counts steps as he makes his way around the house. At first I thought he managed strictly by scent and floor texture, but I’ve noticed something that makes me wonder. If his route from one place to the other includes a turn–-going from the kitchen to the bedroom, for example–-he usually gets where he’s going with no problem. But if he starts out just a couple of degrees off course, he goes a certain distance, then turns–-maintaining the same angle he always uses to make the turn, but not turning in exactly the same place--which causes him to run into the door frame instead of through the open door. What's his frame of reference for when to make that turn?

(First published at Velvet Sacks on February 23, 2006.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That's awesome. I think my dog can count. He always whines when his treat bag gets down to 0 treats.