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Dog´s Astuteness


Dogs are smart animals. Of course, we, dog lovers, are convinced that the most intelligent ones are exactly those which live with us. Be frank: Don’t you think that your doggie is a canine version of an Albert Einstein? I bet you think so, just as I do. My both dogs demonstrate their intelligence to me every step of the way. In the Azawakh, I have witnessed thinking much more complex as compared to many a cultural breed. Some cases are really funny:


Tari´s delaying tactics: Tari is a very watchful and curious dog. He must always be well informed of everything what is happening around during our walks. Experience showed him (and to me, too) that if you do not pay enough attention, you might risk your life… especially if there are some big aggressive male dogs nearby. Tari is a typical sighthound: for the reconnaissance of his surroundings, first he uses his sight, then his hearing and his scent, respectively. If any dog appears in a distance, it is necessary to stop, watch and see who it is in order to be able to react properly (in Tari´s opinion). Or he likes just to stand and gaze with curiosity to find out whether the owner of the dog is the nice person who gives treats to all good doggies s/he meets (in other words, to good doggies such as Tari). However, I am usually not willing to wait for Tari to finish his observations, and we must keep on walking. However, my cunning dog has found out how to make me do as he wishes.


There are certain moments when I stand still, waiting for Tari… when he is standing with his hind leg high up… well… peeing. Tari is aware of this very well, so when somebody or something appears at a distance whom / what he would like to see and check, he turns his head and with his hind leg up, he watches the newcomer… without peeing... not a drop. This is just Tari´s trick to make me leave him alone and not to make him walk on. However my boy had a bad luck, I could see through his cunning tactics… but it took me some time to realise he was pulling my leg!


Tari´s tactics of outwitting Akhami and us: We are a pack and there have been certain rules set which must be observed in our everyday life. One of the rules is that nobody is allowed to enforce any privileges for him/herself applying physical force. For example, if any of our dogs is invited first to come to cuddle with us (oh, Azawakhs love cuddling) on our double-seater, the other dog is not allowed to push her/him away. The truth is that Akhami never does such a thing and she takes her seat anywhere else without protesting. However, this is not Tari´s case. He trots around, talking and waiting for a moment of our inattention to poke into Akhami with his long nose or to give a big blow with his paw in the couch, throwing his little daughter away in order to take the privileged place for himself. But this is not allowed. It is the Alfa of the pack who decides who may sit on the couch. Tari has been set due bounds several times in similar situations and he understands well that no bullying will be tolerated. So my clever boy solved this problem in his very personal way:


Akhami loves to play. Just a subtle gesture inviting her to play is enough for her to jump and join anybody playing, even if she were sleeping as a log. Tari, our dog philosopher and a cunning psychologist of dogs´and people’s souls, knows us all too well. And he uses results of his scientific observations for his convenience until the moment when his tricks are revealed. So, his solution to the above situation is as follows: he catches some of Akhami´s toys and starts jumping, throwing the toy high and catching it again, pretending he is having great fun. While doing this, he is watching Akhami, lying on the sofa, with his eyes gleaming with mischief. Within seconds, Akhami jumps off the sofa, happy that her Daddy wants to play with her… and in this very moment, Tari leaves the toy and in one big jump, he lands on the sofa. I could swear that there is an expression of an utter self-satisfaction on his face, while Akhami is watching, unable to understand… just as we are. Tari has not used any bullying or physical force in order to push Akhami from the sofa, what he used was a cunning trick and in fact, he has not done anything improper. He, being a nice doggie, was just playing, and it was Akhami´s free will to jump off the sofa…


So, what should be done in such a situation, ethologists? (Oh well, I know… a dog on a sofa…)