We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Why do humans anthropomorphise animals? I am a dog guy, and know how easy it can be to view a dog as a pal. They sure can be great companions if well-trained, with none of the demands of human relationships.
I guess I am talking about pets, not pure working dogs. Are they pretend people?
My cat and I have full on conversations. Of course I have no idea what I'm saying when I speak cat, but I guess my delivery is good because whenever I try to convey "no, stop pawing at the blinds, we're not going outside," she generally stops and stares at me with that sullen cattitude.
I thought this was interesting with respect to your neotonal wolf comment. https://www.insidescience.org/news/rare-human-syndrome-may-explain-why-dogs-are-so-friendly
We've always had working line GSDs. I'd say a well trained dog is a joy. Providing companionship, sport and an introduction to other dog people with similar hobbies. I don't see why they need to be anything other than what they are, which is wonderful.
I had a rat terrier (Ellie) who thought she was both my loving mother and personal security officer. She became distraught every time she saw me shed a tear, ran up the phone and barked when it rang, planted herself right between me and any person of the male persuasion.
Their intelligence is a spectrum, just like other mammals. I dispute that they are not capable of understanding or constructing strategies, or problem solving - that is just plain wrong. The researchers should watch a good cow dog work, then they would learn something - if they pay attention.
I had a rescue pitbull/pointer once that would fetch eggs from the hen house and leave them in piles by the kitchen, not a single one busted, in imitation of the collecting the humans did every day. She would also fake out her fellow pack members (bark!bark! Intruders!) to get them off the bed she coveted, then claim her spot.
Dogs are one of life's true joys, and a reminder that all joys must be treasured, for they pass too quickly.
I live in a huge pine forest. In my cabin I have a large window and my TV sits above it so we sit in our comfortable recliners and see everything that is going by. The usual deer, quail, raccoons, hawks, owls and coyotes. Love seeing the coyotes, they are very smart dogs. One snowy day a coyote appeared about 40 feet from the window and looked around, looked towards his backtrail and then trotted on. Within about 20 seconds to very large dogs came into view searching for the coyote. But they became distracted by the deer smell and the bird feeder and started exploring the yard. Coyotes long gone, the dogs get tired of following the different smells and seem lost for a few moments and then head off in a different direction from where the coyote went. Dogs; zero, Coyote; one.
I ignore 'evolutionary' attitudes. They are bullshit. Dogs are divinely created to be man's companion. It's their purpose and their history emphasises it. Any human that accuses them of stupidity is merely an embarrassment.