The Furlong family have been having a discussion about Bunny, the Shepadoodle that is viral on TikTok. Bunny talks to her owner by pushing an array of specially designed buttons on the floor. Bunny asks questions, makes statement and comments that seem wondrously intelligent.
She/he has been taught all of it through conditioning over many months. That Bunny does all of it all by herself because she is thinking things through seems to me to be a cockadoodle story.
I want to tell you a better one.
I’m deaf. Severely deaf. At night, when I remove my wondrous hearing aids, I cannot hear a thing.
Bass, the dog, sleeps in his bed on the floor at the foot of my bed.
Bass is not a talker. He never barks at us. He only barks at every delivery guy that walks past the house from his seat on the bay window windowsill in our lounge, and every person who rings the doorbell. If Bass wants something from us, we get ‘the stare’.
The silent stare.
Well, its no good silently staring at someone fast asleep in bed
who is now deaf AND blind.
So, he has learned ALL BY HIMSELF, without any conditioning from me, to bump the bed leg with his body.
Oh! She’s up! And now the light is on. And now she’s paying attention!
I think that’s very, VERY clever, yes?
Thank goodness he seldom does it, but he has done it enough times now to know (scientifically) he understands exactly what he is doing.