Yahoo!'s main page today featured a story in which was asked the age-old question, "Do you think a dog can read?"
To which Poodle Bitch would reply, "Of course a dog can read. How do you think dogs find the material about which to blog?"
However, after viewing the video linked from the yahoo! main page, Poodle Bitch feels confident in saying that, while she believes that dogs can read, she does not believe that this particular dog, Sonny, can read. Poodle Bitch encourages the reader to view the video for him/her-self:
Poodle Bitch will happily concede that Sonny "the wonder dog" could not be more cute, even if he were a poodle. She will also concede that Sonny has been well-trained, or is at least very eager to please. But she is unwilling to concede that Sonny can actually read.
Poodle Bitch wonders if Sonny's human companion asks her inane questions in the same order every time? She also wonders if she uses the same cards every time? Perhaps the answer is even more obvious than that -- Poodle Bitch notes that the human subtly lifts the card with the "correct" answer inscribed upon it, just as Sonny reaches out an innocent paw.
Poodle Bitch speculates that poor Sonny is likely responding to cues in his human companion's voice, and reaching out a paw as he's been trained; then he merely touches the hand that has raised slightly to meet it.
Of particular interest to Poodle Bitch is the sequence around the :35 mark, when the human companion asks Sonny, "What do you chew on?" When Sonny attempts to answer, wrongly, the card on which is inscribed that wrong answer (Poodle Bitch admits she could not read what was on that card) is pulled back as Sonny reaches toward it. Sonny then looks at something or someone off camera and then manages to select the other card, on which has been inscribed the word "Bones."
This is of particular interest because it would seem to confirm the hypothesis that the human companion is "feeding" cues to Sonny (as opposed to bones); it is also of particular interest because sophisticated humans provide their canine companions with tomato slices or chicken on which to chew.
Poodle Bitch has a message to the humans who exploit their canine companions for fleeting internet fame: If you're going to debase them in such ways, at least give them tomato slices.
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