Can humans ever understand how animals think?

A fascinating read …

“A flood of new research is overturning old assumptions about what animal minds are and aren’t capable of – and changing how we think about our own species”
Source Adam Kirsch, The Guardian

Photo Credit: The Guardian
Closeup of African elephant. Photograph: Gaertner/Alamy


@Angela_L I always thought that animals were much more intelligent than we gave credit for! I saw that in Fudge (my dog) and the horses that I’ve spent time with. I think we as a species can learn a lot from them. I was so moved by ‘My Teacher :heart_eyes: the Octopus’.


Tons of research being done. It’s fascinating to discover how much we really don’t know about anything really. Even how humans think is still ever evolving in what is to be understood. Plants also communicate and react to the environment and stimuli.
And all simply just want to connect.


@Amparo Fantastic fungi and Judi Dench - My passion for trees were brilliant! So much to learn :herb: :mushroom:

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If you know about Bunny the Talking Dog, or any of the other MyFluentPet stars of insta/tiktok, then you too would have no doubt in your mind.

Start with the account “afluentpetfan” and just follow who they are following!


One of the best things about sitting is getting to see the wide range of personalities among pets — smart ones, mischievous ones, funny ones, anxious ones, etc.

The more time we have and the more observing we do, the more interesting it becomes, IMO. I’d encourage people with pets to not assume that they can learn only narrowly.

Where food is involved, my dog has infinite learning capacity, LOL. He’s gone from ravenous, gulping down everything and throwing up (as a malnourished stray rescue) to now optimizing what to eat (and when), if he has a shot at something he might like better. To me, that shows that some dogs are capable of higher-level thinking, doing trade-offs.

He’s learned a lot, because I’m willing to try teaching him. Unless I try, how do I know what his capacity is?

Like I trained him to understand what “no more” means. For instance, he’ll get only a certain number of snacks from me, then he knows to go to my husband instead for more as soon as I say that. Or if I’m alone, he knows to not sit around waiting for more when he hears that.

He used to get a scared look and bark at everything right after we rescued him. He’d hear my husband rustling upstairs and his eyes would widen in fright, like he was ready to run, till I trained him to understand “It’s David.” Then he learned to ignore such sounds.

I’ve also trained him to not bark at sirens, train whistles and when the doorbell rings or someone knocks on a TV show or movie. I originally kept telling him, “It’s the TV.” Now, that’s unnecessary, because he knows how to tell the difference. He barks if someone’s actually at the door.

He’s even learned to tell the difference among various types of crinkling sounds, depending on what types of packaging we’re opening. And he gets excited when we open packages from UPS and such, because they’re often for him. But if I say, “Not for you,” he understands and stands down.

He also used to get up and follow me everywhere, like Velcro. I was worried that he’d not get enough sleep, because he’d do that even if I got up at night to pee. So I trained him to understand “Maggie going to the bathroom.” That way, he could stay in the comfort of his bed.

He also understands “Let’s go upstairs (or downstairs).” Or when my husband says, “Let’s go see Maggie.” He gets excited and starts running to find me, whether we’re in the house or outdoors. He also understands when I say, “Let’s go see David.”

Our dog also used to bite if he thought anyone was going to take his toys (like he’d bite even if you happened to walk past his toy, as my husband unknowingly did the first day we got him), presumably because he was a stray and then was adopted and returned and sat for months at a shelter. Early on, a trainer told us to take everything away from him and show him who’s boss. But that seemed unnecessary to me. Instead, I figured, if he learned abundance, he wouldn’t act on scarcity mindset. So I bought him loads of cheap, small stuffed animals with squeakers (sold by the dozen) and we’d leave them in piles so he could grab them anytime he wanted. That helped him get over biting over toys. To me, that seemed logical, so why not try using logic to train a pet instead of unnecessary dominance?


This is exactly the same for people. Home and pet sitting mixed with travel provides an avenue for us to better understand how we ourselves think.
It’s a window to seeing so much diversity in human and animal behavior.
It’s almost impossible to ever really know what any life form thinks. When it comes down to it, what we really come to learn is how we think and how we respond, respect, accept, reject? Control? Other living creatures.

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Animals are very smart ! Two cats, a 4 yr and almost 1 yr, moved in when my guy moved in 7 years ago. We had a 10 yr old cat. He said that his cats can’t be trained. Jump forward 1 yr later and all cats know key signs for things such as done, up, sit/wait. And the 4 yr old rarely over eats and eventually lost some weight. And they’ve trained me to understand when they need somethings. We trained each other with love and consistency.