*If you are just joining in, make sure to read Part 1 here*
A few days back, my dog Kal did something that changed how I look at him forever. Before that, I always saw him as a simple, lazy pug who was very stubborn about where he slept, even if it was on my own place. After that day though, I saw him as a lot more. I saw him as a conniving, scheming, lazy pug who is always looking to make the least effort possible to reach his goals.
It was a lazy afternoon when I was occupying a sofa staring at the TV screen. I was just back from a heavy workout and had no intention of getting up any time soon. Little did I know, that I was also blocking the path of Kal from getting up to the bed, right next to the sofa, the place where he usually sleeps.
Kal made some unsuccessful attempts to get me up by pleading to my humanity and my will, as well as ability, to move. His pleas went unheard. Kal, then moved to the door which leads to our backyard and started knocking on it. This is usually how Kal tells me he has to go out and he knows how much I dislike dirty mats inside the house. In a moment of weakness (and apparent strength) I got up to let him out. I opened the door and held it open calling for him to come out. Meanwhile, behind my back, Kal jumped on the sofa that I had just gotten up from, leaped to the bed, circled his spot and lied down for his afternoon nap.
That son of a bitch.
I had been fooled by my own dog.
I was stunned at first, bewildered second, mildly angry third but then pleasantly surprised.
In his moment of deception, Kal had displayed the use of many things that are high-level cognitions when you think about it.
First of all, he exhibited the recall of the past times when he would knock on the door and I would come from wherever I was, without fail, to open it for him. Secondly, he displayed foresight, as well as insight, when he knocked on the door to get me out of the sofa. Lastly, he showed pretty decently advanced problem-solving skills that we don’t usually expect from even human toddlers, let alone dogs.
And just like that, within a few seconds, he disproved the Cartesian idea that animals cannot think. “Take that you animalphobe” probably thought Kal talking to the spirit of Descartes across time and space. Descartes on the other hand must have probably been turning in his grave about what had just happened to him.
Conquered by a dog. Not many people can claim to have had that happen to them. At least in this regard, Descartes and I are on the same pedestal. It leaves me wondering what must be going on in that mind of his. Does he like me? Does he think I am a good enough writer? Does he think I project my insecurities on to him as a form of psychological defence? We may never know.
What I do know is that my boy is smarter than I or Descartes gave him credit for. I wonder what new ways he will figure out to outsmart me in the future. Either way, I am a proud dog parent. And Descartes is still desperately wrong about the animal mind.
PS: Kal isn’t really the first animal, or the first dog to have shown cognitive skills but even then, as an Indian parent, I cannot help but show off.
PPS: Max, I love you too but you got to show some smartness if you want a blog about yourself.