This page was created 2003/08/25,
Climbing out of the Murray river after a swim. She hasn't
used ladders much, but seemed to learn fairly quickly.
Vocabulary, alphabetical order
Drop (lie down)
Drop it (whatever she is holding)
Get the paper (news paper)
Get the stick
Get your ball
Get your dish
Go (for a walk)
Lie down (same as drop)
Off you go
On your blanket
On your chair
Over (jump over something)
Shake (shake hands)
Skitch (chase it)
These notes are based on observation I have made on our family
dog, Clair, over her life time.
She was a kelpy-border collie cross; this seems to be one of the
most intelligent breeds.
She died at the age of 14 years, in 2007.
The table on the left lists the words and phrases
that mean something to Clair.
Concepts that Clair understands
I will discuss some of the concepts that one might not expect
a dog to understand.
Clair enjoys dipping for stones. She seems to enjoy retrieving
stones from beneath water more than the less challenging
Clair understands that if some food or drink in her dish is too hot
for her to drink at the present, it will become cool enough if she
leaves it for a few minutes.
I find this rather surprising because it indicates an understanding of the
effect of the passage of time.
Clair completely ignores her reflection in a mirror. This
indicates that she understands that there is not another dog
there; there is no threat, it is only an image, not the real
thing. I have read that it is only higher primates that are
capable of realising that what they see in a mirror is not
I have heard it said that one thing that sets modern man apart
from other animals, even higher primates and Neandertal Man, is
the possession of an imagination.
Clair certainly dreams. This can be seen (and heard) by her
behavior: she barks (although doesn't open her mouth) and moves
her legs as if trying to run. Surely this indicates a form
of imagination: she is either chasing or running from something
in her mind.
(So far as I know all dogs do this.)
Clair also has the odd habit of 'chasing' other cars when she is
travelling in the back of our car. She snaps at them, and will
bark at them if encouraged, as they pass. She has the same
reaction to shrubs that pass close by the car on narrow bush
tracks. This, in itself, probably does not indicate imagination,
but she also sometimes makes lunges at cars that are there only
in her imagination.
On this site...
In regard to
is the supremacy of Man idea justified?