The Pointing Finger!

I have read so much stuff about dogs in the past 3 years, some of which has even been retained (an achievement as we get older!), and one quote that I still remember was the statement that dogs are unique in their mental ability.  Apparently the dog is the only animal that, if you point to something, will look where you are pointing rather than at your pointing finger!

Ray developed a habit, which I have noted in an earlier Post, of giving our hands a really good wash once we have finished eating our dinner. We think that it is either an affection thing, or that he simply feels that it is his responsibility! Regardless of his rationale, he is very consistent and extremely thorough.

This evening we had our dinner as usual and Ray, as expected, came over and sat in front of me. As soon as I had finished, he looked at my right hand, and back to me, and back to my right hand. I held it out towards him and he immediately went to work giving it a really thorough licking!

After he had finished, he started looking at my left hand, and back to me. Typically, I would reach over and offer him my left hand, but this time I didn’t. I was curious to see whether he would take any initiative to move around so that he could finish his work, or whether he was totally expecting me to accommodate him! The latter was looking rather strongly as being the most likely answer.

I clearly had his attention so, after a few moments of watching him to see if he would accommodate me, I nodded towards my left hand. Nothing changed. I then used my right hand to point to my left hand and his attention went straight there! He then walked around me and finished his cleaning task!

Having had a number of cats and rabbits in my past (one rabbit shared our home with two cats), I was always surprised at how smart they were, albeit within the limited field of survival skills. Brewster Bun was perhaps not so smart upon reflection, but the cats were all so manipulative when they had a need which a human could fill.  Ray is also very manipulative, but he can also follow a pointing finger and draw a logical conclusion. I was impressed!


21 thoughts on “The Pointing Finger!

  1. Our Princess Leia has associated the finger with “No” because without realizing we have said, “No” while pointing our finger lol. It works out because if she decides to bark or do something mischievous while we are on a business call we just giver her the finger (not the middle one LOL) and she stops.

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  2. Dogs can be manipulative too. Mine gives me puppy eye stare every time I go to feed her. “Hello. Please rub my ears and then play with me and I will eat my food.” If I don’t oblige she sits beside her bowl starring at me and if I go she gives this tiny shriek telling me that she hasn’t eaten yet. LOL But she is so lovely with that hungry but stubborn face that I give in. ❤

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  3. Ray is just one smart dog. My dogs respond when I point but it took a while for them to catch on, all except one dog named Puppy All I have to do is nod my head and some times I just smile and he knows what I want him to do. Some dogs, I think, if they could talk, would surprise and shock us with what they know.

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  4. Mom has always wondered how I understood to either look at or go to or get what she points at. She never knew that dogs were the only non-human species to understand that. Hey, maybe it is from them pointing at our inside potties or torn up whatevers before saying “No!” He, he.

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