Well, I'd like to pick up one of these rocks, but you won't let me.
No, I'm not talking about what dogs grab in their mouths! I'm talking about what dogs learn...without your intentionally teaching them.
Alfie demonstrated his ability to "pick up" on things when we were at a state park not long ago. The kids and I had gone to the car with Alfie to get a drink, while Tim stopped off at the visitor center. Walking up to the visitor center after our water break, I couldn't see Tim anywhere. For that matter, I couldn't even really tell which was the front or the back of the building (poor signage)...sigh! Then it occurred to me that Alfie's canine superpowers could come in handy in locating our "missing person."
Alf responded immediately, tail wagging. Nose to the ground, he led me to a door; but then instead of asking to go in, he switched over to scenting the air, mouth open...leading me around a corner and down some steps to a covered area with picnic tables where Tim was sitting. You should've seen his happy prancing! Tim told us later that Alfie followed his exact path.
Of course I've never actually taught him to find people; but we do "find" a lot of other things in the course of our training (doors, stairs, trash cans, elevators, buttons...to name a few). Since he also knows who "Daddy" is, he could easily figure out what "find Daddy" means. This can't be all that unusual a thing for dogs to "pick up", because our last two GDTx puppies picked up on finding family members also. It can be used to extremely unfair advantage in a game of hide-and-seek, for one thing!
I'd love to get some reader response on this one. What has your dog "picked up"? Come on, brag on him (or her) a little, you know you want to! I'd be very interested to read your comments. Our dogs' intelligence and adaptability are a big part of what make them such good helpers...and interesting companions!
You only think I'm not paying attention...really I'm learning all the time!