A wonderful insight into dogs.

The republication of a wonderful post about a dog that rides a bus!

I’m in the middle of reading Jean Donaldson’s book The Culture Clash.  Here’s a summary of what the book is about from the Dogwise website.

Donaldson

Summary: The book that has shaped modern thinking about canine behavior and the relationship between dogs and humans has been revised. Dogs are not humans. Dogs are clever and complex creatures that humans need to take the time to understand in order to live together successfully. You must read this book… because your dog sure can’t!

Here’s an extract from page 13 of the first chapter: Getting the dog’s perspective.

We crave anecdotes about genius dogs and these abound. Everyone knows a story that illustrates how smart dogs are. But a fundamental question has never been answered by proponents of reasoning in dogs: if dogs are capable of these feats of brain power at all, why are they not performing them all the time? Why never in controlled conditions? What is the most upsetting about these claims is the lack of rigour in evaluating them.

You get the picture of where Jean Donaldson is coming from!  (And I’m still only just into the book myself.)

So with those words echoing around your mind, just hold your breath while you read this article from author Deborah Taylor-French‘s blog: Dog Leader Mysteries.

ooOOoo

Bus riding dog: Photo Friday

JANUARY 16, 2015 ~ DOGLEADERMYSTERIES

Can your dog do this?

Have you read about this dog? A friend shared a news clipping on this dog’s unusual behavior in Seattle, Washington. Eclipse, as an independent city dog, seems to know to walk only on the sidewalk, get on the bus, take a seat and look out the window, all without assistance from his person. Eclipse even knows, which bus stop to get off at for the dog park. “Bus riders report she hops onto seats next to strangers, and watches out the window for her stop. Says commuter Tiona Rainwater, “All the bus drivers know her … she makes everybody happy.”

A Metro Transit spokesman said the agency loves that a dog appreciates public transit. The City of Seattle representative suggested that it would be safer for Eclipse to wear a leash and be with her human when she rides the bus, but with a dog this smart, is it a problem? I don’t know the answer. Black lab rides bus alone to dog park USA Today Network Associated Press 1:01 p.m. EST January 14, 2015.

What do you think, can dogs take the bus without their human families?

No dogs off leash.
No dogs off leash.

We know that big dogs differ in temperament and dog to dog communication from little lap dogs. But what makes a dog mature and experienced enough to take on full independence in the confusion and untranslated rules of human life? Yes, free-roaming dogs ride trains in organized and peaceful groups in Russia. Yes, often those who live with dogs, like we do, find they understand far more of our human lives than we think possible. After watching dozens of dogs off leash on city streets of Baja California Sur, Mexico. No dog seemed homeless and all but one stayed on the sidewalk.

Do dogs ever become 100% street-smart?

Street smarts or leash required?
Street smarts or leash required?

What do dogs know? What do dogs remember? We know dogs learn. We know some dogs show exceptional learning abilities, much greater than other dogs. Somewhere I read that the average dog has the intelligence of a human toddler. Now, none of us would let a toddler walk city streets, get on and off a bus alone. But what of special cases? History shows exceptions to rules and to the “average.” Clearly, Eclipse breaks the rule, the average and reshapes our expectations of what dogs can and should be able to do.

The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” Mahatma Gandhi

Have you read Merle’s Door: Lessons from a Freethinking Dog by Ted Kerasote? Of book talks, life and books by Kerasote can be found on his Website his 2014 Pukka’s Promise: The Quest for Longer-Lived Dogs, in paperback, looks to be interesting to those of us who want our dogs to live the longest, healthiest lives possible. Find more about this top creative nonfiction author on his Website Kerasote.com.

True dog story (tearjerker ahead)

A Marin County ethical keeshond breeder shared this true story of their longtime and favorite dog. For years and years, the behavior of their family dog and top champion male looked totally stable. His nature showed pure calm and obedience. They all got into a pattern of allowing this canine patriarch time to lay on the front lawn in their neighborhood circle street. He always remained serene, watching, never chasing, barking or moving.

On afternoon as the kinglike keeshond patriarch lay on his grassy lawn – the unthinkable happened – he ran in front of car. Now fortunately, this big keeshond did not die. But he suffered, ever after with epileptic fits. Makes me wonder if we fool ourselves in imagining that dogs can navigate city streets safely.

Please share, comment and sign up for my blog updates. Thanks, Deborah Taylor-French

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So leave it up to you to assess the brain power of dogs, especially that bus-riding black Labrador dog. To help you make your mind up, take a look at the video.

Published on Jan 14, 2015

Seattle’s public transit system has had a ruff go of things lately, and that has riders smiling.

You see, of the 120 million riders who used the system last year, one of them is actually a dog. Seattle’s KOMO-TV reports the 2-year-old black Labrador mix, named Eclipse, has become a regular fixture on the city’s D-Line after she figured out how to ride the bus alone to the dog park.

“All the bus drivers know her. She sits here just like a person does,” fellow rider Tiona Rainwater told KOMO. “She makes everybody happy. How could you not love this thing?”

The dog’s owner, Jeff Young, lives next to the stop. He said Eclipse sometimes hops on board without him if he’s not yet finished smoking his cigarette when the bus arrives. The pup has become a regular on the route, riding three or four stops before exiting at her destination of choice. “I catch up with her at the dog park,” Young explained.
Miles Montgomery, a Seattle radio host and D-Line commuter, was taken by surprise when Eclipse hopped into the seat next to him on a ride last Friday, looked out the window, then got off at her stop. Montgomery snapped a bemused selfie with the commuting canine, adding the caption, “Bus is full this morning:”

A Metro Transit spokesperson told the AP they’re happy a dog can appreciate public transit, though Eclipse should really be on a leash. King County says dogs are allowed to ride buses at the discretion of the driver, provided the animal isn’t a hazard and doesn’t create a disturbance.

Seattle isn’t alone in having a streetwise dog. Stray dogs in Moscow, Russia, have learned to commute in and out of the city from the suburbs by riding the subway, even watching out for other dogs to make sure they exit at the correct stop.

Get along, little doggies.

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Golly, I have just seen how long I have spent getting this post written.  Poor old Shelby must be wondering if I really did want to play with him; should have made my next move simply ages ago!

dog-playing-chess-graphic

Mind you, I so rarely win against him!

15 thoughts on “A wonderful insight into dogs.

  1. Thanks very much Paul for your gracious visit to my site and, in the process, enabling me to drop into your fascinating world of canines. My wife and I are animal lovers and she is an ardent dog lover to boot, so we may soon start keeping a dog at home. I connected with Ruth during latter half of 2014 and, knowing her, I am not surprised that she is your friend since you apparently are a wonderful human being yourself. I look forward to reading more of your posts and exchanging views…best wishes…Raj.

    1. Raj, a very warm welcome to you and many thanks for your reply. I, too, hope to exchange many ideas with you but not if you continue to describe me in that way! 😉 I’m just a silly old Brit who has had some lucky breaks, the luckiest was meeting Jean and all her wonderful dogs. (We have nine here at home!)

  2. Thanks Paul for including a reblog of my Bus riding dog: Photo Friday. I’m fascinated now by the book review you began this post with. In a first attempt to answer your question, I suggest that the small percent of humans that use their full thinking abilities, holds domesticated dogs back. In addition research comes with a huge price tag.

    Temple Grandin states her book “Dogs Make Us Human: Creating the Best life for Animals,” that the limits rest in our own lack of understanding of animals. This book is the result of 30 years of Dr. Grandin’s research on turning off negative emotions and turning on positive emotions in animals. After all, humans often will say they can’t think when they experience pain, fear or anger. I’ve revived Dr. Grandin’s book on my blog.

    1. Deborah, thank you for your reply. I hadn’t previously heard of author Temple Grandin but that book sounds like a ‘must read’! Will drop across to your blog later on.

  3. Okay, I’m a bit slow but now your blog of Bill Moyers’ interview on Climate Change and the Public Trust, hit published under the title, “Climate Change spells death for mammals.” So scary. So true. Thanks for your permission to republish your post.

      1. Your link did not work for me, I’m familiar with Creative Commons but not the license. I’ll look it up. Fair use included for educational purposes, and I ascribe to that for my blog. I have seen commercial sites rip off a few of my posts, but complained to their host site. That process took its own sweet time, but finally resulted in all that individual’s sites being taken off the Internet.

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