Monday, August 17, 2009

What Are Dogs Seeing?

Some people claim that dogs have a higher social intelligence for reading people than people themselves do. It isn't usually phrased this way, of course. Usually people say, "Well, my dog didn't like him, so I don't want him around," or words to that effect. I've known some dogs who were pretty indiscriminate -- throw a toy a few times, or feed them, and you're in -- but there have been some odd moments.

We have a new (well, all right, somewhat used, but new to us) television at the house now, bigger and lower to the ground than the old one. The puppies are intrigued. Wanda liked watching television to begin with, and now takes a great interest in blue things, such as the flying wizard-bird in the second Conan movie. Dogs can see blue. She's also been entranced by baseball uniforms and odd things of that sort. She's a very entertaining dog.

Bruce, on the other hand, watches faces. Most of the time he is a mild and sweet little fellow. The other night, a brief clip of Michael Richards (Kramer) ranting about race set him off for the next fifteen minutes, and he calmed only for a game of chase-the-treat. Even after that, the pup kept giving the TV suspicious looks, as though it might let that stranger into our home again at any moment. The next night a sports program showed Michael Vick's recent statements on putting the past behind him. In other words, perhaps in future he will not strangle, electrocute, drown, or bludgeon any more pit bulls. Bruce took one look at that supposedly-repentant face looming large and flew into a full snarling barking rage.

Smart boy, I say.

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