I've got it all figured out.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Ask the Magic Internet a Stupid Question No. 0020

I’ve never really considered my dog Mutton to be the brightest of animals.

But she does have her moments. She can sit and fetch and pick out certain toys on command and she’s prone to those quirky, intuitive moments that I think all dogs have. Those things that dogs do that make dog owners think that their dog is special and smarter than the average dog.

Ahhhh Ha Ha Ha. He’s washing the window!!! Ha Ha Ha. He’s, he’s, he’s WASHING the window!! Whew!

But can dogs actually think? Are they capable of any real complex thoughts? Or are they just little organic machines capable of performing simple tasks that have been programmed into them through repetition? Like the character Steve Urkel on family matters.

Speaking of robots and Steve Urkel. Remember when Boogaloo Shrimp played that Urkel-bot?

Let’s climb to the lofty peaks of keyboard mountain.

With another offering of floppy discs to the Magic Internet.

Question 20: What do dogs think?

Magic Internet Answer: Despite the massive popularity of canines as pets for humans the scientific study of dog behavior lags far behind that of many other animals. This could have something to do with the inability of scientists to study true Ethology when it comes to dogs. Ethology is the study of an animal in its natural environment. A domesticated dog’s natural environment becomes the artificial one that the owner creates for it.

Don’t feel too bad, it’s still better than this.

Another excuse for the lack of study in canine cognition could be that those individuals that are obsessed with dogs are not often the scientific type.

But there has been some research done on the domesticated canine thought process and I think you will find it quite interesting. You see dogs think in sensory impressions; sounds, odors and images etc. The images they conjure up in their heads may not be as complex as say Nam Ben’s but they do have thoughts.

But can can a dog think beyond reactions to an external stimuli or genetically controlled drives? Can a dog solve a problem mentally? Can a dog analyze a situation; imagine ways to manipulate or control it, then take a pre-planned course of action toward a goal that was preconceived in the dog's mind? The answer to this is yes. Here is an example. When a dog looks at you pleadingly and wags its tail around supper time it is indeed asking for its supper, in a roundabout way. In the dog’s mind it is imagining or mentally imaging not the food but the actions and words you perform and say before getting its supper. The tail wagging and begging are tools that the dog is using to stimulate you to perform these words and actions that result in it getting fed.

So in this daily occurrence we can see that dogs do think and produce mental images and we can also see that dogs do have problem solving skills. The conclusion being that dogs have a greater mental capacity then many people give them credit for.

That’s awesome Magic Internet. My dog is smarter than Steve Urkel! I’ve also got another little scientific experiment that shows the problem solving skills of dogs. And best of all, it’s an old Banzi clip.

Isn’t science fun kids? Man I miss that show.

No comments: