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the most amazing things!

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Kathy Knox once told me "these dogs(border collies) will do the most amazing things when nobody else is around

to see it except me"

Tonight after watching a little olympics. I gave the command "time for sleep" As usual my two BC's jump up and head to my bedroom. Usually they both jump up on the bed while I go brush my teeth. Tonight Lucy anxiously looked at my night stand and let out a little whimper. The usual stuff was on my night stand; the alarm clock a few never read and unopened books. I am like "whats up?" Than I realize I left my pager downstairs, I am a physician and tonight is my call night and when I am on call I always leave the pager on the night stand. I run down stairs get the pager run back up and Lucy watches me put the pager on the night stand sighs and lays down. Ok. I realize this may be my imagination playing tricks on me but for those of us who own a border collie and witness these kind of things from time to time know where I am coming from when I say these dogs never stop amazing me!

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Hey Rich,

These dogs are scary smart, eh?

Does this mean that Lucy is okay now?

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It's amazing how this breed picks up on things that we miss. The slightest "off" that we are is what makes them such great service dogs. Usher actually refuses his crate some nights and it makes me mad, but that usually means I might have trouble, so I don't scold him, I trust his instincts.

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My dogs are all bright. Well, OK. Fly isn't bright. She's an airhead. Don't get me wrong, she's smart and all, but she isn't what you'd call a deep thinker. That's probably why she's so damn happy all the time. Solo, on the other hand, is a deep thinker, which dogs are not really designed to be. He spends way too much time wondering "Why?" and "How?" and frankly, dog brains just aren't designed to do that kind of thing, so the upshot is, he worries a lot.

 

But sometimes he does things that are just not very doggish and it's hard to remember that I'm not actually living with an exceptionally hairy, long-faced primate. My favorite example is how he used to open the toilet to drink out of it, and then close it when he was done. I didn't realize he was doing it until I actually saw him do it. I can understand how any dog might figure out how to open the lid, but why close it? Could he have been trying to hide the fact that he was drinking out of the toilet? (This would require reasoning on a level even I cannot believe Solo is at.) Did he just think he should leave it the way he had found it? Who knows. He doesn't do it anymore, because the fiance leaves the lids up and therefore Solo does not need to open a toilet to drink out of it. (I used to leave the lid down because I think the toilet looks nicer that way.)

 

And I still remember Solo's look of wonder the first time he saw us both reflected in a mirror. He had zero interest in the "other dog," but he stopped dead in his tracks, stared at me in the mirror, then looked from the mirror, to me, to the mirror, back to me, clearly wondering, "How can you be there, and there, at the same time?" The normal dog thing to do is to not even comprehend that there is something weird about reflections (that it is possible to see an image of something that isn't actually where he sees it), but Solo knew. And he wondered, and worried about it.

 

So Solo's a genius, and Fly's an airhead. Jett's a work in progress. Right now she's just a kid.

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LOL Melanie-

If you could train my BF or my son's to put the seat down when they visit, I'll give YOU a cookie! Every dog I've had, and they have all been BC's for over 20 years, have had each their own personalities, isn't THAT why we love them?

Now, don't put your dog's down!! They are great dogs. All of them are what I say "quirky" that's a better word than I called Usher a nerd.

Miss Lacey- loved to watch the kids shoot guns

Mick- had to put his head between your legs when you crossed them

Migraine- ran to another room when you said "who did that?"

China- didn't lie down when she knew you couldn't run that far

Faith- no faults

Usher- too many to mention

Bailey- came with so many, but they were fixable.

So- each dog to their own, we love them for who they are and WHY are they drinking out of the toilet? That part I JUST don't allow. yuk.

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Lucy who is also the deep thinker in my house.

same thing with the mirror.

now when we are in front of the mirror i say

"kiss Lucy" and she will kiss her self in the mirror.

i also show her a large picture of Mike my other border collie when mike is not around

and ask her to kiss mike and she will kiss the picture of him!!

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Oh, calling Fly an airhead is not a put down. It's just who she is. Now, I didn't say she was dumb. She's like the cheerleader at your high school who shocked everyone by scoring 1600 on her SATs. (This is referring to back when 1600 was a perfect score, which I suppose dates me. I don't know what the perfect score is now. Also, former cheerleaders, do not get angry for my condescending cheerleader example. I was one too.) Fly is smart, but she isn't bright, she isn't clever, and by God, she is not an intellectual. She is who she is. If there were a talk bubble above her head, it would always say, "Yay!"

 

Solo, on the other hand... there's a reason (well, there are lots of reasons) that I call him The Canine John Nash.

 

Solo drinks out of the toilet because he can. Part of the reason I used to leave the lids down was to prevent dogs from doing this, but now that I live with someone who leaves the lids up (note: the lids, not the seats, THAT I would protest about) it's just not important enough to me to go around putting the lids down all the time. I don't let my dogs lick me on the face so it doesn't matter. I will happily hug, kiss, sleep with, massage, whatever all of my dogs but I draw the line at Frenching them.

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So funny- NOT into Frenching my dog. I do enjoy a "kiss" but i like it on my nose. Usher is too friendly for a SD. He loves children and although he tries so hard to ignore them he can't help but pass one and give a quick "lick on the hand, especially to a young boy, since I have grand boys". I didn't even see it happen, it was so quick, but I heard, Mama, that doggie kissed my hand. OOPS. To late to correct.

Actually, I do massage Ushers legs. He's had a tough day, also. Usher has seen himself in the mirror, and pays no never-mind. I did have a pygmy goat that I video taped and she was so darn cute "butting herself" into the mirror.

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\And I still remember Solo's look of wonder the first time he saw us both reflected in a mirror. He had zero interest in the "other dog," but he stopped dead in his tracks, stared at me in the mirror, then looked from the mirror, to me, to the mirror, back to me...

 

Off side a bit, but I once read in some animal book about two gorillas who were put in a yard with a large mirror. The first gorilla, as expected, kept walking around the back of the mirror to try to find the additional gorilla who apparently lived on the other side. The second (smarter) gorilla, immediately recognizing what was going on, turned bodily around and then twisted his head so he could see what his back side looked like. Amazing! :rolleyes:

 

Mary

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I have been told numerous times that dogs are not self aware and they are not capable of abstract thinking. I don't know about other dogs I only have border collies and have seen them do things that may have required abstract thinking. Solo mentioned the mirror. In our last house we had a ceiling to floor mirror in our den that was about six feet wide. Our oldest dog payed very little attention to the mirror except that he would often lay in front of it facing it when we were in the den. This put us in a position behind him. I noticed one evening that he appeared to be watching the room from the mirror. I also noticed that every time he got up to go somewhere in the room he would turn in the right direction. His view of the room would of course have been reversed. We conducted some experiments with this by putting objects on the floor and ask him to stay. He could see the objects on the floor and whenever we would ask him to get an object like a toy and would get up and go in the right direction every time. It may be simple thinking but I believe that he had to determine or at the very least learn which direction to go in. Not once did he ever appear to be looking at himself in the mirror and he never showed the slightest sign that he may think it was another dog but he seemed to recognize his position in the mirror and all the objects in the mirror in relation. They are fun are they not.

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Oh, I think some dogs totally understand the mirror phenomenon. My old husky/shepherd mix used to sit looking into the oven door while we ate supper - I think she knew the reflection gave her a panoramic view of the whole family. If someone at the table would put out a hand as if to give the dog something yummy, she would turn away from the oven door and go to the non-reflected person who had the treat.

 

Mary

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Ceana *gets* the whole mirror concept. If I say her name and she is lying facing the mirror she will respond in the mirror instead of turning her head around to look at me. As I have mentioned before, she poses. She will go and get toys and arrange them and pose in various positions puffing her chest out when she is exceptionally happy at what she sees. She will even practice looking mean. If I catch her posing I can ask her "can you make an angry face?" and she will half A$$ a growl and wag her tail and puff out her chest at what a scary face she can make in the mirror. Ceana also has a memory that astounds me. She remembers EVERYONE she ever meets and she remembers where everything is. I once hid a ball on top of a book shelf underneath something and not visable to even me. I forgot about it for at least a month. All of the tennis balls I knew of had been destroyed and so I asked Ceana to "go find the ball," to see if we happened to have one laying around some where. Little Miss went straight to the book shelf looked up and whined until I found where I had hidden the darn thing.

 

Poke has different streangths. He amazes me, because I can take multiple words he knows, put them together and he can get the combined concept. IE... Play, Go, Ball, and Daddy. I just looked at him one day and said, "I'm tired Poke, go play ball with Daddy," and he brought the ball to Chris to play with. Every time I tell him that he brings the ball to whomever I tell him. This has led to some fun multi stepped games for him to play.

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One day Sammie and Speedy were barking at some buggies going by out front. Dean was standing by the door where he couldn't see the buggies, but he was looking around with a goofy expression letting out an occasional, "WOOF!"

 

I chuckled, looked at him and said, "Dean, you don't even know what you're barking at." He gave me a pointed look, walked over to the window, stood between Sammie and Speedy and started to bark like the other two were.

 

It was uncanny! I'll never doubt again! :rolleyes::D:D

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And I still remember Solo's look of wonder the first time he saw us both reflected in a mirror. He had zero interest in the "other dog," but he stopped dead in his tracks, stared at me in the mirror, then looked from the mirror, to me, to the mirror, back to me, clearly wondering, "How can you be there, and there, at the same time?" The normal dog thing to do is to not even comprehend that there is something weird about reflections (that it is possible to see an image of something that isn't actually where he sees it), but Solo knew. And he wondered, and worried about it.

 

My cat Mesto used to do this, and had the same reaction the first time I saw a mirror with him. In fact, he would stare in the mirror and though I have no proof, I know he knew he looking at his own reflection. When I would say his name, his eyes would just flick to mine in the mirror, in a way that let me know he knew that reflection was me, even though it was also not.

 

As a biologist I know that is not a real test, though. BCs *are* the only dogs to have passed one of the highest forms of the behavioral standard test for consciousness, though. The "real" mirror test involves putting something on the animals head (that they cannot feel) when they are sleeping. Then when they wake up, they are shown a mirror. If they notice there is something wrong with their reflection and use the mirror to try and help guide them to remove the object on their own body, it is taken as proof that the animal has an awareness of self vs. other - a consciousness in other words. great apes, corvids (jays, crows, ravens, etc), elephants, rats, bottlenose dolphin, and octopi are some of the animals that can do this - and BCs. :-)

 

The elephant story is funny because they didn't think they could do it for so long... then they used a larger mirror.

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Where's the study that showed Border Collies could do this? Or for that matter, corvids or rats?

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We've been having some wicked storms here in central New York. About 2 weeks ago, we had some friends over to watch videos and PeeWee, my psycho, but supersmart, border collie was driving us nuts. He was restless and whining. He's not storm phobic and, actually, we didin't realize a storm was coming in. Finally, I said to him, "why don't you go in the crate with Sputnik" (the puppy, who was in one of the two crates in the room). Now PeeWee doesn't have a crate, isn't crated and has probably only been put in a crate a couple times in his 8 years. He marched over to the crate and, finding the door secured, pawed the door. I walked across the room, from the couch where I was sitting, and he got right in the crate with Sputty. A few minutes later an amazing storm hit with lightening on all sides of the house. He was fine during the storm and after . . . It just blew me away that he obviously understood what I said. He hasn't been in the crate since . . .

 

Kim

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All my border collies are smart. Smarter than any other breed I have ever owned in fact. But, Seth is by far my most intelligent dog. He can definitely outthink me. I really hate that too. Sometimes it just seems he can read my mind. I'm sure it must be body language or something, but its weird anyway.

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out of all my dogs, Happy is far and away the smartest, she is a thinker..and yet she still loves to have fun. this makes her the faverite..not just for me, for everyone who has met her. teenagers invite Happy on outings..oh I dont have to come, just Happy lol. but the most amazing thing that was just an unbelevable moment? when Happy understood that my friend was pregnant..I mean she actually placed her paw on my friends belly, looked at my friends face with this awstruck look on her face, then gently layed down her paws placed carefully on either side of the bump, and hovered her head protectivly over my friends belly. I am not even sure how to desribe how cool that was to see.

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I read a British study some years ago that said dogs and in particular border collies are far smarted than we give them credit for and that us human monkeys understand very little of what our dogs are trying to communicate. How much time you spend with your dog and how much interaction there is and stimulation will determine how smart your dog is or at least how ell the dog communicates. We had a oldest BC Mac about four years before we got our second dog. We spent time with Mac probably in much the same way parents would spend with a child. Mac is amazing. He has learned our language in far more detail that most studies would reflect. Our middle dog Pete is a pure stockdog and we got him when he was about three. He does his job like no dog I have ever seen but he seems to have very little interest in anything but work. He was raised in an environment where work was all he did. Our youngest dog Dave however, and we expect this to be our last dog, has been with us from 12 weeks and we have been making every effort to get him into everything. He is only one but he is showing signs of being a great dog. We have decided to teach him just about everything we can. He has little in the way of attention span at the moment but he does catch on to things very quickly.

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The "real" mirror test involves putting something on the animals head (that they cannot feel) when they are sleeping. Then when they wake up, they are shown a mirror. If they notice there is something wrong with their reflection and use the mirror to try and help guide them to remove the object on their own body, it is taken as proof that the animal has an awareness of self vs. other - a consciousness in other words.

 

I've always had a problem with that test applied to dogs, because vision isn't a dog's primary sense. Smell is. So the dog sees an image in the mirror, but it doesn't have any smell, so it's obviously not a dog. And of course it can't be "me".

 

You might get a sense of the problem if you imagine someone sneaking into your house and replacing the mirror with a high resolution video display & camera that takes a picture of you and morphs it into looking like an alien, so the image wouldn't look human, but would follow your motions just like a reflection in a mirror would. How long would it take you to figure out what's going on? Especially if you knew nothing about computers...

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I don't know about that. My window by my kitchen table at night reflects like a mirror. Sometimes Jackson will come over and look out the window, and I will make motions behind his back but what he can see in the "mirror". If I wave to him, he will watch then turn and grin at me. Once I took some food and made a motion like I wanted him to take it. And he turned and took it. Then I thought well, he probly smelled it, so next time it happened, I didn't have any food but made the same motion, and he still looked around to me to take the food. Skip used to growl at his reflexion. Now he just stares at it. So, I think Jackson knows what a reflexion is, and Skip is still skeptical about the no-smell dog he encounters on occasion.

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The only time Ling has shown a definite reaction to a mirror was when she was about a nine months old on Halloween. Trevor dressed up as a princess and he was truly terrifying, with a large fluffy floor length purple taffeta dress, a long black wig, crown and scepter and full makeup and jewelry.

 

She wasn't bothered when she saw him, but when she turned and saw his reflection in the mirror she went NUTS, barkscreaming at that reflection like I have never before or since heard from her. I think the real him smelled like him, but the strange freak in the mirror didn't.

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we have a mirror in our office and it is low enough for abby to see herself in, and every time she passes the mirror, she kisses her reflection.

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