Invisible Voices

a voice for the voiceless

Smarter Than Dogs

Last week I posted about a comment a recent new volunteer made about Petey being “just like a dog” when he asked for a belly rub. My general thought on that was:

They can act like dogs, for certain. I think that every domesticated animal “acts like a dog” in some ways – that is, their dependence on humans encourages certain behaviors. They’ll beg for treats, and even do tricks of a sort. They’ll ask for attention. Of course they are like dogs in other ways too – they are able to feel pain and pleasure, suffering and joy. They don’t have to be lap dogs for us to not hurt them, to let them live free of harm, free of exploitation.

Sometimes, though, they remind us more than usual of dogs.

This weekend Terry was excited to tell us that Carmen, one of the three young pigs almost big enough to join the big pigs, was back home after being at the vet’s office for several weeks due to complications after her recent spaying. It was wonderful news that Carmen was well enough to come home, and Carmen came back from the vet’s office with a little extra treat for us.

When they picked Carmen up from the vet’s, they were told that Carmen had learned how to sit! Sure enough, when bribed with a treat, Carmen will sit when asked. The really amazing thing about the story though is that when Carmen came home and re-joined her two stall-mates, Lita and Julio, they quickly learned to sit for treats also, just by watching Carmen!

We know they’re smart, smarter than most people give them credit for, and we’ve been hearing for years that pigs are “smarter than dogs” so it’s fun to see them putting their intelligence to work in a way that most everyone can relate to.

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4 responses to “Smarter Than Dogs

  1. sheryl, washington dc January 18, 2011 at 7:32 am

    I really love that video because I missed the first two sits (had my back turned in the far end of their stall). All three of them are becoming more accustomed to us and I haven’t been nibbled in a few weeks, now. Not that Julio and Lita won’t still nibble at you if you’ve got food in your hands, but they’re definitely less mouthy.

    And they definitely learned to sit faster than I was able to teach Mina who, as we all know, was/is a brilliant canine. 😉

  2. Deb January 18, 2011 at 7:40 am

    I lucked out to get the video of them actually sitting! I wasn’t in the best spot to get a good view…

    Glad they’re not nibbling so much anymore!

    There was an article recently about something a specific dolphin had learned to do for his own fun, something that was really never seen in other dolphins, but after he was with some others for a few weeks, they were all doing it too, and taught others. Wish I could remember the specifics! Will have to try to find the article again!

  3. Sandra Ludwig January 18, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    Yay, Carmen! Yes, pigs are very intelligent. You can tell by looking into their eyes. At least I think so!

    I once heard someone say, “Cats look down on you, dogs look up to you, but pigs think you’re their equal.”

  4. Rebecca July 11, 2011 at 8:08 am

    OMG! They’re so cute. The little ‘piggies’ reminded of me of Babe.

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