This Smart Dog Creates Formations Using Toys
Donnie the Doberman has a favorite activity. He loves to arrange his toys in his backyard. So what’s so special about that? He arranges the toys in circles, rows, and triangles. He categorizes his toys and places them into various positions into well thought out patterns. Dr. Barbara Smutts, a professor of Psychology at the University of Michigan felt compelled to see what was going on for herself. She was very skeptical until she rigged the yard with a camera and saw Donnie decorating the yard as he loves to do. Donnie is a very special dog in that he was rescued from a shelter. Sadly, he spent around a year of his life in a small cage where he had a limited ability to move around. After his owner adopted him, he had to adjust to his new environment. He had physical difficulties due to being forced to live in such a small space. Emotionally, Donnie was unfamiliar with warm interactions with humans. Interestingly, the first time Donnie allowed his owner to put her arm around him marked the beginning of a new theme in his constellations. His toys were arranged in positions in which they were holding hands, lying next to one another, sometimes facing up, other times facing down. He uses various combinations of positions and patterns. Could this activity simply be a form of entertainment for Donnie? Could this be Donnie’s attempt at communication? It might seem so considering his patterns were affected by the milestone in his relationship when he allowed his owner to interact more affectionately with him. Could his behavior be an effort to communicate his emotions? His behavior is expressed through the use of thinking skills that are very rare to find in a dog.