Does Sam Have ESP?
Lately I’ve been taking Samuel, my almost three year old mischievous Golden Retriever Lab mix to Ijam’s Nature Center, located in South Knoxville, for both of us to get some exercise.
The good thing about Ijams is you can go for decent walks in the shade on their over 12 miles of trails, and thus paws don’t get burnt like they do on hot concrete sidewalks.
I think Sam has ESP (Extra Sensory Perception)- earlier today I began to prepare for our trip to Ijams, and without me making a move for the leash he began to act excitedly as if he knew we would be heading on a trip, doing his characteristic jumping on me with the “placement of the paws.”
His intuition of where we were going was on display while there at Ijams. We started our walk leaving the parking lot and heading towards Mead’s Quarry. Along the way we passed the Tower Trail, where I wanted to go after we got to Mead’s Quarry. Once we left Mead’s Quarry we started heading back to where we started… and knowing I wanted to head up the steep Tower Trail I wondered if Sam would instinctively turn right and head up that way as we walked towards it. And he did, veering off the path we were on and merging on to the Tower Trail.
Now Sam isn’t a dog that has learned to “heel” and walk beside me, so he wasn’t taking ques from me. He was in the lead. I can barely get him to not pull on the leash. Most of our walks consist of him leading the way while pulling me along.
So is this just a random coincidence or does Sam have insight into what I’m thinking?
A recent New York Times article titled “He Knows What Your Dog Is Thinking (It’s Sweet) by Claudia Dreifus features an interview she did with Dr. Gregory Burns, who does research on what dogs think by running different tests scanning their brains.
The results he reports are easy for me to believe- but for the rest of y’all out there what do you think?
One result of the study concluded that dogs respond to praise for humans and food equally- but that 20% of dogs had higher and stronger responses to praise over food!
And the other interesting part of his study concludes that dogs have special parts of their brain which enables them to recognize faces. I recently saw Ruby, a golden retriever a friend adopted over a year (who I hadn’t seen since the adoption) and for some reason I really believed she recognized me from past contacts.
With my German Shepherd Prince, when new people come into the house we have to slowly introduce them to him, as he is very protective of his territory and has strong teeth that he isn’t afraid to use if he feels him or his people are threatened. The intro process doesn’t have to occur a second time if it’s the guest’s second visit, as Prince remembers them through their smell probably and as the New York Times article reports he also probably recognizes their faces.
Dogs are wonderful creatures and a great gift that God has given us humans, don’t you think?