Bullshit. Bullshit that dogs don’t understand why you’re mad. Bullshit that dogs don’t understand what they’re being punished for. My dog is only allowed to chew his chew toys and he damn well knows it.
Last night, in addition to eating an entire loaf of bread that I THOUGHT I put out of his reach, he also chewed up an old water bottle. Of course, he got scolded for the bread, but I didn’t discover the water bottle until later. Frankly, the water bottle was too trivial for me to REALLY scold him.
So, today, after a long “time out” (he has to stay downstairs and can’t come up to lay in my bed), I give him a bath and we start playing in my room. Without really thinking about it, I pick up the chewed up water bottle to let him play with it.
He IMMEDIATELY looks away in shame.
He refuses to touch the water bottle. At first, I was confused, but then an idea struck me. I decided to perform an experiment. I took a stuffed animal, the water bottle, and his chew toy and held two of them out at the same time. When the chew toy was not present, he refused to take either item. When the chew toy WAS present, he would invariably and immediately go for the chew toy.
Now, maybe it’s just MY dog that’s that smart, but I highly doubt it. We consider ourselves of superior intelligence, but I believe we’re mistaken. Forgive the following parallel, as it might seem a bit of a reach, but much like we used to think that an autistic child was of inferior intelligence, we may soon learn that animals are not so much inhibited to learn as they learn in a different way.
They understand things differently, but that does not make them of inferior intelligence.