Tag Archives: dogs

Problem solving ability in canines

Regis is a great dog and an important part of our household. The human-canine mutual relationship is alive and well.

Regis is a great dog and an important part of our household. The human-canine mutual relationship is alive and well.

Kelly, Regis (the wonder pup), and I were at a friend’s house. These friends have built a house that is nothing short of amazing. Kelly and I were on the second story back porch and Regis was down at ground level. Stairs exist to get up to the porch, but the stairs are located away from where Kelly and I were. Regis has used these very stairs multiple times. Regis wanted to get closer to Kelly and I, so he hopped up on a picnic table. While the picnic table did put Regis about three feet closer to Kelly and I, it did not exactly put Regis where we were. So Regis then did what any proud hound dog would do: whine.

Kelly and I then moved to a portion of this second story porch with a direct connection with the stairs. Regis ran right over and proceeded to try to use a swing set slide to get to us. This was a disaster. Once Regis had all four feet on the slide, he would slide back down to the ground. Regis really wanted to be with Kelly and I so he just kept throwing himself at the slide. While this was entertaining, this activity would not achieve the goal. So we walked over to the top of the stairs and called him.

REUNITED! Tag wagging ensues!

To me this was interesting because Regis was able to come up with solutions to his problem all on his own. Granted these solutions, did not solve the problem, but these were his own solutions. It is also of interest that when the picnic table was found to offer only a partial solution, Regis then called out to his humans. Regis, a descendant of wolves, is the product of thousands of years of a human-canine mutual relationship in which: dogs have provided shed hair to make cave-human’s stone couches furry and humans have provided the dogs with problem solving skills. He depends on us when the problem seems insurmountable, like when his tennis ball is under the couch and out of reach. It seems a fair trade, he is a good boy.