Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Underestimated

While S is recovering from her surgery, I found it only fair to occupy B. After all, she's a bratty dog as it is...I can't have her acting out. LOL. Dogs need mental stimulation. Period. If this is news to you, I feel sorry for your dog. Blunt, yes, but I'm just being honest. While at Clicker Con 2009, I got a Dog Twister game for the girls. It has these sliding triangles that block the food you place in a little cutout hole in the wood. The object is for the dog to learn to slide those triangles (actually, I don't think they're technically triangles but I failed geometry. Twice. So lay off) in order to get the food. We've been feeding the dogs their dinner this way - it gives them one last piece of homework in order to earn their meal before the day is done. o make the game even more advanced, there are little wooden pegs that actually block the "triangles" from sliding. Again, it's up to the dog to figure out they must first remove that peg and then slide the "triangle".

When I read the instructions, I scoffed at that part. Remove the pegs???? How is a dog, my dog has no fingers I might add, going to remove something? Not to mention, how does such a simple creature like a dog understand that it's the peg (a human tool) blocking her access to food??

Ah, behold, the power of the brain. The first time I saw B remove the peg, I thought it was a fluke. So I replaced it. She looked at me like I was the biggest a-hole in the world and took it out again. We played this little "it's a fluke" game for a couple seconds before I realized she is truly understanding the consequences of her actions. "If I move this out of the way, the thingie slides and I get the food underneath." She learned how to manipulate a HUMAN TOOL! That's the part I can't get my simple brain around! Here's B, understanding the concept of something I can buy in the lumber aisle of Home Depot. I've started clicking her when she lifts it up, so in the first video, you'll notice her pause for a second after she picks it up. You'll also see she gets a little frustrated when she can't get to the food right away. I'm not the best videographer -please excuse my shaky filming. B is also a little out of focus in the end of the longer vid. Sue me. And for those non believers, I've made this as difficult as I can imagine. I put all five pegs in, not allowing a single "thingie" to slide and everytime, perfect performance.
video
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