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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 44.djvu/531

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THE PSYCHOLOGY OF A DOG.

through his extended vocabulary of freedom, for this means a walk abroad. Are not these acts precisely those of the baby during the primitive period of its thinking life? And are they not due to a mental process which in a child we always ascribe to thinking?

Toots's perception of ideas, even thoughts, conveyed in sentences uttered in ordinary conversation, surpasses anything I have ever observed in dogs, except in Scotch collies. If, in the course of ordinary family chat, the question is interpolated, "Do you want to go out?" he bounds to his feet; if in the same tone he is told, "You can not go out," he takes his disappointment without further demonstration, though no other words or gestures of command are added. Even while asleep, if the word "cat" is used in the current of conversation, he remains undisturbed; but utter the combination "black cat," and he rushes to the window to take an observation. The examples thus far given can not be referred to automatic or reflex action; they belong to the operation of cerebration, and involve ideation, classification, and judgment—in other words, thinking. At least such would be the conclusion were they the acts of a two-year-old baby.

Very early in his history Toots was taught to sit on his haunches, receiving bits of food as a reward for the performance. It was observed that he spontaneously raised his hands, as an additional expression of desire. This act was encouraged and developed by taking hold of his arms and waving them vertically, until the whole combined action became habitual, and was rendered in answer to the command, "Wave your hands!" After a long period of practice in sitting posture with hand-waving, under various circumstances and in most fascinating fashion, he disclosed the power of imitation. When held upright in the arms of another, and when already satisfied with food, I waved my hands before him, and he at once copied the same motion, and is always ready to do so in answer to this gesture.

Here appears to be a case of imitation, pure and simple, that calls for a reasonable explanation. Prof. Preyer says: "In order to imitate, one must first perceive through the senses; secondly, have an idea of what has been perceived; thirdly, execute a movement correspondent to the idea."[1] And further, it may be added, since a volition is involved, there must be a consciousness of self, or a formation of the concept "I." All this is granted in the case of a child; why not also in the case of a dog?

Scarcely anything is lacking in the mental furniture of this psychological dog to make him the equal of a baby two years old, except thinking in words; and who can prove that he is destitute


  1. ↑ The Senses and the Will, p. 282.