Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Get the Point?


Fiver on the Lookout

It may interest you to know that dogs are one of only three animals on the planet who can follow your finger to see what you're pointing at. They get it. They see you point, and they understand you want them to look in that direction.


Latest studies show that elephants are probably hip to the game; but only one out of hundreds of house cats can do it. And nobody else. Even chimpanzees, who share our exact genetic make-up (except for about a teaspoon of DNA) couldn't follow your point, even if their lives depended on it. "Look over there! A guy with a big tranquilizer gun! I'm not kidding! Please, look!" 

They won't look. Which is how so many of them end up in frilly skirts, riding bikes in the circus. (Actually, that's not why. It has more to do with hugely flawed human beings, but that's another kind of blog entirely.)

Dogs, however, are freakin' brilliant at following your gesture. 

In fact, a six week old puppy will look to see where you're pointing--because years of domestication have programmed his tiny brain cells to grasp the concept. After all, you might be showing him something expensive to chew on, or some new place in the house he hasn't peed yet.



Forgive the boast, but our dog Rose is an expert at The Art of Point. Actually, you needn't bother yourself to raise a finger. You simply look out the window, and Rose appears at the sill to see what she must be missing: 

"Is it Fatty Blue Jay eating all the suet again?"

"Is there a feral cat out there? Huh? Is there?"
  
"Do not tell me that guy is back to fill the propane tank."

And by the bye, it's not a sometimes-yes-sometimes-no proposition at our house. If you look... Rose will come. So it took about 30 seconds to plan, "pose," and snap the above photo this morning. 


Today I think I'll keep a better eye on what's happening out in the yard. The cold and snow can make me burrow in too deeply if I'm not careful.





3 comments:

  1. So true and so artfully expressed. Please keep posting!

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  2. I love this. What a lovely picture. I didn't know about the pointing being in only 3 animals. I know that our dogs are super intuitive as to where we are in the house and what we are doing. They just want to be part of us and I will also try to be more intuitive to others in my home.

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  3. Hi, Anonymous! You are so right about them wanting to be part of us. Such a gift. Thanks for writing.

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