This is a personal post, but interesting in terms of animal behavior. As Jason knows, my dog Happy is pretty intelligent. She understands a handful of spoken words and hand signals, and can even recognize written words as if “appearing” to read.
But this afternoon Happy did something unusual. She carried a toy frog over to her water bowl, and gently put it down as pictured. Given its orientation, I’m skeptical that her placement was an accident.
The frog continues to sit like this (20 minutes later) as Happy arranges other toys nearby. Now I admit I may be anthropomorphizing, but her behavior sure reminds me of a child playing “make believe” with stuffed animals.
So with that I’ll turn to Brian Hare and Vanessa Woods at Duke’s Canine Cognition Center to find out about imagination in dogs. (I’ll also be speaking at IdeaFestival shortly before dog whisperer Cesar Millan, so I’ll see what he has to say too).
Have readers had experiences like this? I’m interested to hear your thoughts..