do this its like "critters" (ie mice rabbits birds etc) vs. pets (cats). In fact I was just at a friends house where she has a 180 lb Mastiff who will try to kill rabbits and stuff but the cats that were just adopted at their house, she just wants to play with. Clearly she knows they are different...
6. No telling how they classify the world around them. We base our judgements on appearances
we classify animals, plants, and minerals by observable characteristics, so we see a dog and a horse. Who knows what dogs see? Maybe they classify by internal characteristics, or maybe they just classify as "edible" or "not worth the trouble."
Obviously they see distinctions, though. Other animals (humans are still animals, by our own classification system) know what animals to eat, which to flee, and which to allow to suckle. They have some form of classification. Whether it is one that we would even understand is hard to say, although I'm sure if I googled I could find scientists who did research on such things.
One of my oldest dogs died last week. I (and my kids, sadly) watched her as she faded and died. Very sad for all of us (she was my favorite dog), but it was also sad for the other animals around. Her sister couldn't watch, and went inside and buried her head in her paws. One of my cats, who is older than the dogs and knew her all her life, lay in the window and watched, until finally she went to the door and meowed until I let her out, and then she went to Pol and sniffed her nose for a while. You could see the emotion, you could see her trying to make eye contact, even. Then she slouched away and went into the back yard a ways and laid down and watched. When Pol finally died, the neighbor's dog started wimpering through the fence, and I heard a couple of other dogs in the neighborhood howling (though I can't be sure that was related).
There's no doubt at all to me that "lesser" animals are sentient, feel emotions (including love), and are quite aware of what they are going through. I grew up around a lot of animals, ranging from common pets to livestock to turtles and snakes (we kept many of them for pets). I never met one who didn't show signs of intelligence, personality, and compassion (although I met some that were just mean, just as with humans).
21. jc_ I believe you are absolutely right about animal emotions. Our dog
Edited on Wed Jun-30-10 10:58 PM by old mark
was devastated when mom died - the dog wandered around mom's house looking for her and somehow realized she was dead and just whimpered and cried. We don't give them nearly enough credit - or respect, but then we don't give each other much of that either...
My dog now is afraid of horses-he was near enough to smell them and didn't much care for the idea they were so much bigger than he is...he doesn't like small dogs, either.(He is 110 pounds-Doberman/Great Dane) I think he is confused that they are so small and still smell like dogs...
When I was a rural child in the 50s and early 60s, we had horses, cattle, chickens, pigs, and various cats and dogs.
Poncho was a special horse (and older than me). He was a gelded palamino and only 13 hands. We all first learned to ride on Poncho.
The other stock had their barns and stable and coop but Poncho was allowed to roam our yard with the cats and dogs and there was a graveled area where he pooped
Baby was a yellow cat that was Poncho's best friend and vice versa. From when Baby was a kitten, Poncho had a soft mouth to pick up Baby and one of Baby's favorite perches was on Poncho's back. Baby helped alot with horse and other flies.
My Dad used to get up very early and would smoke most of a pack of Lucky Strikes and drink a pot of coffee and fix himself breakfast at the kitchen table. We called this Dad "meditating". Poncho with Baby on board would be at the window and my Dad would feed sugar and carrots to Poncho and bits of his breakfast to Baby.
In summers my grandmother would come to stay during the day while my parents worked. She was addicted to Edge of Night and several other soap operas and TV (as well as electricity) was new. As there was no AC, there were screen doors. Poncho was allowed to open the screen door and put his front feet up the two steps from a covered cement porch to inside the living room and would watch the TV with my grandmother, Baby on board.
...pretty big critters themselves...walked fearlessly in the world. They weren't bullies, of course. They were very gentle and respectful with my house cats and dogs we met on our walks . But their gentleness came, also, from an awareness that they themselves were very big. They ambled along with a kind of lazy confidence in their own invulnerability. So I will never forget the day I was walking them in the huge woodsy park near our house when we met two horses and their riders on the path. These were the first horses, as far as I know, that they'd ever seen. The dogs became very focused,very attentive No more lazy ambling. Rather a kind of disciplined walking, close to me on their leads. I thought I could read them at the time, and what I thought they were thinking was..."Holy Moses...really big animal thingies with huge feet who are apparently equipped with their own humans, and big enough to kick our brains out.....we'd better watch our p's and q's and pass them carefully and quietly and peaceably." Which they did. No barking, no attempt to sniff or approach, either. So I think they may not be able to name the horse...but they know they shouldn't mess with it.
I would think no, else we'd see packs of horses, dogs, and moose together as often as we'd see a pack of dogs.
Granted, there are always those exceptions that warms our hearts and are almost comical (the cat nursing puppies, etc.), but I imagine that overall, there is a sense of loose species identity within a genus (or vice-versa...?)
I've seen them chase and try to kill dogs - including our own, as well as foxes and coyotes. They are more aggressive to coyotes and strange dogs. But when I still had a dog, one of my mares who had always ignored him literally ran me over to try to kill the dog. The difference - the mare had a new foal at side.
Most of the time, the horses like cats and will "pet" them gently with their noses. But we had a mare with a new foal that picked up one of the cats, grabbed him right around the rib cage, shook him, and threw him about twenty feet. Didn't break any bones even though she could have crushed that cat's ribs. But the cat ended up with the abdominal muscles torn from one hip to the other. It cost me $500 to get his sewn up internally even though there were no visible wounds.
How many dogs do you have? Could they have a tendency to pack hunt?
I don't think just seeing it, as through a glass window, would signal to the dog that it's a horse. I would guess, though, that after having enough experience smelling and seeing horses, individual dogs may be able to identify horsiness visually. Animals learn stuff.
rather than see differences - not that they can't see that something is different, just that whereas we humans tend to be very visually dependent, animals are much more dependent on smell.
We always figured my cat thought horses were enormous dogs. He didn't see them often, and never really got very close, so I don't know if he ever smelled one. I know they terrified him in a way dogs never really did.
24. See, that sounds just like that "Wings of Desire" dreck I hated so much.
"The child didn't know it was a child until it knew it was a child and then the child who knew it was a child knew of being a child..." Christ, I want those two hours of my life back!
Sorry. Just hated that "movie." Of course a dog knows it's a dog. It may not use the same type of thought system we use, but that's just because our thought processes are screwed up by the need to translate everything into language before we consider it a thought. The dog knows. The child knows. Wim Wenders, not so much.
29. An amimal's "failure" to perform to our standards in our tests may be an indication of our inability
Edited on Thu Jul-01-10 12:14 AM by Skip Intro
to construct viable tests and standards.
There is truly no way to know if a dog is self-aware or not, imho. I understand the need to classify and render a verdict on everything, but I believe we should preface most if not all scientific conclusions with, "as far as we know." Especially when it comes to our determination of another animal's cognitive abilities or sentience.
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