Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Curious Bit of Animal Behavior

Newfoundland x Pit Bull Dog;
Claiming His Territory?

Since we brought Harry the Dog home as a puppy on a cold, sub-zero December 4, 2009, the majority of his time has been divided between being a willing house dog or a reluctant pasture dog. So much did he prefer the house that we had to bribe him with treats, or put him on a leash, to get him to the pasture (where we can shut him in).

On one occasion, recently, he lay down in protest and it took two of us to drag him by his legs all the way to the pasture. He’s getting to be a big boy! And he seems to think all this tussling is great fun.

Then, overnight, everything changed; Harry reversed his preferences. He still comes to the house when called. But, when he gets inside he’s antsy and into every kind of trouble he can think of until we put him out again. I was in the practice of giving him a rawhide-chew when I’m on the computer. He’d lie here under the table, and devour that while I typed. Now, as soon as he gets his square of rawhide he goes right to the door and asks to go out. Once out, he heads to the pasture and to his friends, Scout the Ox, and Peaches the Pony. He voluntarily stays out there with only short, occasional visits to the house-yard and doorstep.

I could go on-and-on about possible reasons he might change his behavior over time — but, the remarkable thing here is that it was a sudden one-eighty. Did he consider all his reasons and then make some kind of a conscious decision? Something like, “Starting today I will spend most of my time in the pasture because. . . .”

Can dogs even do this kind of reasoning and decision making?

 Click on "comments" just below and tell me what you think? Or share an experience you've had with your dog.