422737 (CC0), Pixabay

Dogs learn early that when they behave in a certain way, they will get a treat. For example, they can sit, jump and do almost any trick when they know they will get a reward. One such smart dog noticed one day, that when people go to a shop and pay, then they get something in return. To this dog, there was something familiar about it.  He understood the idea: give something and you will get something in return. This creative dog decided to give it a try.

This happened at the campus of Diversified Technical Education Institute of Monterray Casanare, Columbia. There lives a nice puppy named Negro. This puppy noticed that when students go to the local campus shop, they give something to the shop keeper, and then they get something in return.

Now He Got the Idea!

Negro watched very attentively when the students were buying cookies. The smell told him that what they got was cookies, something he liked very much. By experience, he knew that cookies was nothing less that a reward for good behaviour. Every now and then, the kids gave him some of cookies they had bought so he knew for sure that one could get cookies here. Negro recognised the process. He had been in it several times before when he was together with his master: do something nice and you get your  reward. But for Negro, the problem was to find out what was that nice thing could be, – then thing that the kids did to get cookies in reward? He looked carefully and saw that the kids always offered the shopkeeper something that looked like a green paper.  Could he find some green paper or something similar lying around somewhere? The kids had found it. So, he could too! He went out to search for it!

The attendant of the campus shop, Gladys Barreto, had this to say: ”He is very intelligent … He would go to the store and watch the children give money and receive something in exchange.. ”. After a couple of times Negro saw the pattern and decided to solve the challenge in his own way. “One day, spontaneous, he appeared with a leaf in his mouth, wagging his tail and letting it be known that he wanted a cookie,” told teacher Angela Garcia Bernal.

Negro noticed quickly that this “nice thing” worked very well with humans. He made it into a habit to turn up every day with a leaf, his type of currency, in his month. Obviously, students and staff enjoyed this and continued to reward Negro with cookies.

There are Limits too

But for dogs, as for us humans, when something goes really well, things easily tend to go too far. So ultimately the staff started to limit the leaf business to a few transactions per day.

Negro showed amazing creativity by picking up leaves as collateral for money. He solved his problem all on his own. Dogs are indeed intelligent, they learn and they are great friends, but are we missing something? Should we give more room for dog creativity? Should we let the solve challenges in their own way? What could that be? Comment on the Facebook comment page.