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Border Collies and Deductive Reasoning


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Hi Board,

 

I used to be a member here years ago when I first got my BC. I recently decided to look around the net because of some things that my Echo has done recently that really amazed me. She's about 8 years old has shown no signs of slowing down. I've always done alot of mental exercizes with her like naming all her toys, telling her peoples names and having her remember them and deliver things to them. I've told her the names of the vehicles so she goes to the right one when it's time for a ride. She also helps me with chores, closing gates with a rope i tie to them and she takes things to the burn pile for me.

 

Besides playing ball, her favorite thing to do is watch TV with mommy and daddy. If I ask her if she wants to watch TV she gets very excited and runs to the TV. About a year ago I taught her that if she wants me to turn on the TV she has to get me the remote off of the coffee table when I ask for it. She seemed to understand that there was some connection between the remote and watching TV. Recently we got a DVR and we like to pause the program duing commercials and then come back after they are finished and resume watching the program. Keep in mind Echo has never taken it upon herself to bring me the remote without me asking her to. We were watching a program the other night and a commercial came on. We paused the TV and went into the computer room. As usual when I paused the TV Echo looked at me like, "Dad, come on, unpause it for me". My wife and I were surfing on the computer when Echo came to the door of the room and gave a little bark. I said, "you need to go outside?" nope, "you need water? nope,"food?"nope. Well, we didn't know what she wanted so we ignored her for a while. She made a couple more little barks but couldn't get our attention. The next thing I know, she comes back with the remote control in her mouth and sets in on the floor in front of us. I about freaked out! I picked up the remote and she ran to the TV. I unpaused the program and she was happy.

 

Am I imagining that she really understands the concept? I think she really gets it! Kind of like bringing a leash when they want to go for a walk!

 

Kev_n_Jena

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The tears are just rolling down my face at this. I SO needed a good laugh today! And the funny thing is, that this is actually pretty much true - this is exactly how a Border collie would learn what you expect them to do! Someone asked me the other day, how do you train them to pop themselves in the crate on command, even when the crate is stacked up or whatever? I take pup and propel him in the crate and say cheerfully, "Load!" About three times of this and pup propels himself right in when he hears the magic word (it helps if there is always a nice treat waiting in there of course :D ). You have to be careful with this - with great power comes great responsibility - Border collies are smart but they can be VERY literal!

 

Here's a 45 pound dog in a 12" tall crate because I didn't realize the little crate was open and the large crate beside it was shut!

 

RandomCrate.jpg

 

Border collies are such a peculiar mix of biddable, smarts, and lack of ability to generalize that living with them can seem like crossing into the Twilight Zone sometimes.

LMAO. :rolleyes:

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These stories are amazing.

 

Belle is picky about where she lays on the couch and sometimes Jake beats her to her spot. This happens often, and sadly it doesn't paint Jake in good light, but.....

 

Jake takes THE spot

 

Belle sits in front of him and stares

 

Jake stares back

 

Belle nudges Jake with her nose

 

Jake thinks she is snuggling and kisses her

 

Belle chooses one of her options:

1. If one of us is in the room, she gets a ball; knowing we will throw it and Jake will run after it (as it is his main love in life)

 

or

 

2. She will look towards the front door and bark, knowing that Jake is reactive and will go to the door to check out the situation.

 

Either way, Jake has vacated the area and Belle can be found relaxing on her beloved couch. Jake falls for it every time.

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I introduced Dean to clicker training very soon after we adopted him, so he learned the concept of throwing behaviors to get a click and treat.

 

One night, about a month after we adopted him, I woke up to hear him making some commotion on the floor. I snapped on the light and he was staring at an empty food bowl in his crate, which was open, and he was throwing every behavior he knew at the bowl. His reasoning worked. He got some food.

 

Much, much later, I was working weave poles with him one day. Later on, I heard him digging in the sofa. I knew he had stuck his ball in the cushion, so I went out to retrieve it for him. By the time I got out there, all was silent and I walked into the room to the sight of him glibly weaving through the poles which were sitting right in front of the sofa. When his attempt to dig the ball out didn't work, he started throwing his newest behavior at the sofa! Again, his reasoning worked! The ball was forthcoming!

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Ha, ha, funny stories and I love the pic!

 

Ok, how about this one... so one day, my BF was washing the dishes in the sink. Mollie jumped up on the sink with her front paws to see what he was doing. He told her off for jumping up, and so she went down and disappeared. A minute later, we hear her bark in the living room (which she never does). We go there to check what's going on only to find her barking at a dirty cereal bowl we left on the end table and forgot to collect and wash! BF picked it up, and it made Mollie wag her tail like crazy. So I guess it is her new job now - collecting dirty dishes for washing. We were VERY amused.:-)

 

And here is another one - not a bc, but at least a herding dog. So, when my parents' briard was about 5 months, he learnt how to open the door (European doors have handles, not knobs). One day, someone left the front door unlocked and he got out. And this is what we think happened... he was walking around the neighborhood until he got lost. Then panicked, looked around, found the nearest gate and opened it. Walked inside the front lawn (random front lawn!), onto the staircase, opened the door to the house, walked through the hallway and then opened the door to the kitchen. There was an elderly lady sitting there, eating her lunch!!! Luckily, she did not panic, called the police and they told her who the dog belonged to so she could walk him home (small town). He NEVER attempted to leave the house on his own again.

 

:rolleyes:

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I love Rebecca's picture, too!! :rolleyes:

 

These stories are amazing, and so entertaining!! Please keep 'em coming!! This is the best one I have:

 

I was in the bedroom reading a book, and Mojo was sleeping at my feet. Suddenly, he got up and ran to the kitchen. I ignored him. He came back, and barked at me from the doorway. I asked him what the matter was, but he just barked again. So I got up, and he ran back to the kitchen; I followed. Sure enough, the pot I had left on the stove had boiled completely dry, and the food was starting to smoke--but not nearly enough that I could have smelled it from the bedroom myself. Obviously, Mojo can smell better than I can, but I don't know how he knew that something was wrong...and how did he realize that he needed to notify me about it? Maybe some instinctive fear of fire? Yet, if we have the fireplace going full swing, he will lay right down in front of the warmth and snooze contentedly. Dogs are AWESOME. :D

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I took Bailey, Ginger and Willow over to a friend's house who had a huge turtle in a big round pen in the middle of her yard. The fence was about 4 feet tall around the turtle. It was the first time the dogs had ever seen a huge turtle and they wanted in! A fence must have a gate, right? They circled the fence and found the gate. Bailey tried to push it open. Then he tried to stick a paw through and pull it open. Didn't work because of the latch. He stared at the latch for a few seconds, looked at me and then opened the latch with his nose (it was one you just lifted up) and the dogs were in. Terrified of the turtle - but in!

 

There could be 100 balls laying around but Bailey is very specific about which he wants to play fetch with. If Ginger steals the ball he will take one of the other balls (which he will not chase if I throw) and he will drop it near Ginger in hopes of her grabbing the new ball. When she goes to get it (50% of the time) Bailey scoots in and grabs the ball he wants.

 

When Ginger wants one of the bones that one of the other dogs is chewing on she will attempt to steal it but if that doesn't work she will jump up and run barking to the door. All the other dogs join in and Ginger quickly runs back and grabs the bone while the other dogs are still all barking at the door for no reason.

 

When we play hide the ball Bailey remembers almost every spot the ball was hidden in in the same order that I hid the ball in. He will check every spot in the order I hid the ball before looking in new places. My memory isn't even that good most times!

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The example I always give in "Can dogs reason?" conversations dates back to my first border collie, who was the smartest one I've ever had. There was always a frisbee lying around the yard someplace in those days, so when I wanted to throw it for her I would ask her to get the frisbee, and she would find it and bring it to me. (Occasionally she'd bring a mashed, run-over frisbee -- the first time she did that, I said, "Get your OTHER frisbee." She picked that same one up and tried to hand it to me, I repeated "Get your other frisbee," and then she dropped it and went looking for, and found, another one and brought it back to me. Anyway, that's a different story.) This one time the frisbee happened to be in an adjacent yard, but the wire fencing was loose enough at the bottom that she could wriggle under it. She did that, and got the frisbee, but when she tried to crawl back under with it in her mouth the frisbee kept getting hung up on the fence. She thought for a minute, then dropped the frisbee right next to the fence, wriggled under the fence, turned around, stuck her nose under the fence, grabbed the frisbee, and PULLED it through under the fence. Good dog!

 

As a tiny pup, when the frisbee was almost bigger than she was, she was also very quick to figure out that she could bring the frisbee to me without it tripping her up if she flipped it over first and carried it concave side up. She always flipped them over after that, after she caught them and before bringing them back, for the rest of her life.

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Turtle story: Somehow a box turtle ended up in my driveway. I let my BC Skye check it out and he was scared to death! Two years later we found another turtle on a two track in the woods. Skye was still scared to death. We let baby BC Zip out and he immediately ran up to the turtle and began sniffing. Skye watched from afar and when Zip wasn't attacked, Skye immediately approached the turtle and started clacking it with his teeth. We loaded up the dogs, put the turtle on the other side of the 2 track and went home!

Barb S

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Polly carries her frisbees like your dog, Eileen, for the same reason because as a pup it was easier than dragging it. It's funny to watch her do this with her kong frisbee, it looks like she's carrying a big red taco shell in her mouth.

 

Polly has a rope toy that has a rubber tube on one end. She doesn't like to drag it, so after I throw it, she carefully nudges it into a perfect overlapped circle and carries it like a lasso :rolleyes: She also seems to sense that she can have fun with this "weighted" toy since the rubber tube stays at one end, so it's the only toy that she ever holds in her mouth to "spin" with.

 

It might just be a fluke, but I'm always surprised at how quickly she realizes which direction she needs to go in to get her leashed unwrapped from around something. She usually gets herself unwound before I can even get the words out as to which direction she should go. (and with these dogs, you CAN say which way to go and they listen..so cool) None of my other dogs have ever been able to do this, they would just stand and wait for help. She really seems to think things through...

 

fun thread!

 

Charlene

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lol ok I have a new story...well sorta, it happened this past summer. I had Happy at my friends house and she wanted to play fetch, she dropped the ball on the deck at my feet, then ran down into the yard and stared at me, I ignored her. so she ran back onto the deck picked up the ball, threw it off the deck, ran back down grabbed it, brought the ball back, waited till I was watching her, pointed to the ball with her paw and ran back down into the yard and waited. after that I tossed the ball, I figered she would think she had the stupidest owner on earth if I didnt lol

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Tonight the TV was paused again, and my wife and I were working on Christmas cards on the computer. Echo came to the door again wanting us to unpause the TV. I said, go ahead Echo, watch TV. I heard her grab a remote off of the coffee table and she brought it in to us. It was the remote for the dvd player so I said, WRONG REMOTE Echo! She ran back into the living room and got the other remote and brought it to us.

 

My little 10 pound mutt that I had for 18 years was almost as smart as Echo. I wish there was some way to tell the intelligence level when they are puppies. I've had dogs that weren't near as smart and it's just not the same. I love being able to communicate so easily with them. I'm sure her vocabulary is over 100 easily although I've never counted.

post-8238-1198121634_thumb.jpg

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Both my dogs do this - Rhiw learned it from Meg. Both of them LOVE to swim. In fact Rhiw took his first plunge accidentally on his first grown up walk - followed Meg straight into the river, much to my horror. Anyway, that's irrelevant here. When we're playing fetch with a ball or stick in the river in summer time, they know that the fastest way to retrieve the ball is to run downstream and wait for the ball/stick to float past - then quick plunge in and out, and repeat. Rhiw can also retrieve objects from underwater if it's shallow - you can almost see him building up to holding his breath. he loves his snorkelling!

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I've had dogs that weren't near as smart and it's just not the same. I love being able to communicate so easily with them.

 

lol same here, of my own 4 dogs, Happy and Rusty are the smartest, followed closly by Misty. Electra isnt even on the radar lol. Happ ys easily the smartest, she does things that make me forget she is a dog lol.

 

for example, I had her with me at a petstore and there was a bunch of dog sweaters on 2 racks, low to the ground. I had no interest in dog sweaters at the time(Rusty needs them, but I didnt have him at the time lol) so I just kept walking, I was looking for something else. well Happy suddenly stopped walking and refused to continue, so I walked back to her and she started going through the sweaters..I mean she actually nosed through each sweater on the rack, didnt like any on that rack apperntly, because she moved to the next one, started nosing through them too, then she stopped on one, stuck her paw on it and looked up at me. :rolleyes: I was completly stunned, who wouldnt be if their DOG started clothes shopping? lol, I told her forget it, she didnt need a sweater and dragged her away lol

 

dealing with Electra isnt the same, she is sweet and all and I love her, but when you ask anything of her and she just stares at you with this totally "dduuuuhh" expression. or you try to play brain games and she cant even figer out the objective, nevermind how to solve the problem.. lol

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The best one I have involves Pi,Katy and Raven, my first border collies. The most coveted spot in the house was the couch, next to me, and Pi and Katy were always butting heads over it. One evening Katy had made it up there first and was snuggling contently, when Pi trotted up, obviously wishing to take her spot. After a moment, Pi trotted out of the room, stood in the hall, and gave the "boof" warning that there was some one at the door. Immediately Katy leapt up, and bolted for the door. Pi trotted calmly back and took her place. :rolleyes:

 

Ido is a ball nut. Rune just wants the ball because Ido wants it, and she will often pluck it out of the air, and get distracted 2 seconds later, only to lose the ball....well, at the park we go to there are many tennis balls lying around. Ido has learned to pick another up, pretend to drop it, and cause Rune to drop the one I'd originally thrown and go for the new ball.

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