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In which Az is unexpectedly helpful

I almost can't believe what Az just did. Tara Banana was puffing and blowing a bit, and I was just making coffee and not really paying attention to her.

So, Az gave me his most withering expression, stood up, turned the handle, and opened the patio door so that Tara could go out for a wee. He didn't go through the door himself, he just opened it, pushed it open and stood there waiting for her to go out.

Honestly the longer I know that lurcher the more impressed I am. He is soooooo clever!

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( 17 comments — Leave a comment )
parrot_knight
11th Dec, 2009 13:28 (UTC)
I like hearing of all examples of canine genius! Az is very clever.
bunn
11th Dec, 2009 15:14 (UTC)
Yes, I suspect that all incidents of canine genius in this house will be down to Az. Mollydog is far too lazy, and although I have not known her very long, my suspicion is that Tara Banana doesn't quite have the spark for independent action of this kind!
(Deleted comment)
bunn
11th Dec, 2009 15:13 (UTC)
LOL. The reasoning and action didn't surprise me so much as the motivation.
(Deleted comment)
philmophlegm
11th Dec, 2009 17:52 (UTC)
I think you might have something there...
bunn
11th Dec, 2009 20:02 (UTC)
Even so, that's quite an impressive piece of thinking (for a dog):

"I don't like it when Tara pees inside
(recognising that something might happen in the future, and also that there is a difference between indoors and outdoors)

because IF that happens the carpet cleaner comes out/it will smell bad
(a conditional thought)

so therefore I shall open the door
(forethought)

so she can go out instead.
(understanding how another animal will behave in response to an action)

To open the door, I shall stand on my hind legs and push the lever with my front paw.

(OK, we knew he could do this bit, but it's still quite impressive because it's not something he has ever seen another dog do, he worked it out by watching another species that is a very different shape).

Dogs are supposed to be able to reason up to about a 4 year old child level, but I am not sure all human 4 year olds would manage that reasoning.
the_marquis
11th Dec, 2009 21:35 (UTC)
Oooh I don't know about that, some 4 year olds are remarkably perceptive, thoughtful and empathic.

Overall though it does start to sound like Az has been reading 101 Dalmatians
bunn
11th Dec, 2009 22:26 (UTC)
Goodness, I didn't mean to imply that there aren't plenty of 4 year olds that could handle that sort of reasoning, I'm pretty sure there are many younger children that would have no problem with it, particularly those well used to the company of animals.

I homechecked a home with a 2 year old girl a month or so ago, and I'm pretty sure she will be very alert and observing of her beloved new doggy at least some of the time - even if she isn't out of nappies herself yet. (Whereas I didn't even notice the problem, and there's nothing wrong with my intelligence, well at least compared to a dog there isn't!)

I do think it's pretty impressive that Az worked this out himself without my giving him any cues or encouragement tho.
lil_shepherd
11th Dec, 2009 13:49 (UTC)
Gosh, that is bright! (Admittedly, we have a cat who opens doors for other members of his family...)
bunn
11th Dec, 2009 15:12 (UTC)
One of our cats (Perl) is quite capable of doing that - but I'm not sure she would be so altruistic as to do it without a reason.

She has been known to take collars off other cats, but I'm not sure why. I'm pretty sure there is some Perl-shaped logical reason, but what it is...

By contrast I'm afraid all our boy cats are a bit dim.
ladyofastolat
11th Dec, 2009 17:15 (UTC)
Maybe there's something about your house that encourages genius in animals?

I wouldn't put it past some of your boy cats to have secret Scarlet Pimpernel-like double identities, and to be masquerading as dim idiots in order to put you off the scent and conceal their evil overlordly doings. I wouldn't put anything past Yama and Suma.

(By the way, in Left 4 Dead, one of the special baddies - the hunter - growls before pouncing, and sounds just like your bungles when they're making their very cute terrifying growling sound. I call them "Bungles" now.)

(And another by the way, according to the pigeon book I've just been reading, pigeons are the messenger bird of "Yama, the god of death and justice.)
bunn
11th Dec, 2009 20:09 (UTC)
If anyone is a secret supervillain, I reckon it's Henning. He's definitely a complex and troubled personality.
philmophlegm
11th Dec, 2009 17:53 (UTC)
I saw some study this week that said that cats are more intelligent than dogs.
ladyofastolat
11th Dec, 2009 21:32 (UTC)
And I read a study today that said that pigeons are more intelligent than either. However, since it was a book all about how wonderful pigeons are - heroes of warfare, enshrined in world mythology etc. etc. - it perhaps counts as a biased source. However, they can, apparently, tell the difference between Impressionists and Picasso, and between Baroque music and modern stuff, and are one of "only four species" that can cope with the concept of a mirror.

Although arguably opening patio doors is a rather more useful application of intelligence.
lil_shepherd
11th Dec, 2009 19:13 (UTC)
Ross - our door opener - has been known to open doors so that his mum can steal (and hide) his sister's kittens. Relations are complicated among out cats.
smirnoffmule
11th Dec, 2009 15:51 (UTC)
Ha, that is amazing. Blaze trailhound can open the door from the outside and let herself in when she's finished in the garden, but she's not yet got the hang of letting herself out in the first place. I take my hat off to the lurcher.
bunn
11th Dec, 2009 20:07 (UTC)
First time I ever took Mollydog to the vet after we adopted Az, I came home to find our rather frazzled-looking neighbour shutting Az into our house, again. She had apparently been putting him back into the house at 5 minute intervals ever since I left.

Fortunately, as long as he has Mollydog to look after him, he consents to stay in the house without us having to go round doublelocking and bolting everything and hiding the keys. I swear he can turn a key if you leave it in the lock.

It has to be Mollydog, too - I tried leaving him with foster Sasha, and by the time I'd got Molls into the car, both of the other 2 were bouncing around me going 'where you going then...'
wellinghall
11th Dec, 2009 18:59 (UTC)
!!!
( 17 comments — Leave a comment )

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