Originally Posted by a_recording
While that is pretty adorable behavior I think you are getting a bit carried away there. You are assuming that just because you understand that things have names the dog does too - ie that because it has made a distinction then it understands identities. 'This is not a pipe'. Etc
What's more likely is that the dogs thought process goes something like "when my owner makes a noise that sounds something like "bed" I should lie down. There are some spots sure I can lie down where he does not repeat the command. This towel is nice."
Then again maybe you have a super dog.
Haha dog hater! Lol
Dogs have actually been shown to be able to associate words with specific objects or people and can be taught to associate a word with something. How they make the association studies haven't been able to show yet. So "this is not" is actually pretty possible, now whether you can teach then that say different looking stuffed tigers are "tiger" I have no idea.
While you may be right about the thought process, it's still the dog distinguishing what constitutes a "bed," no? It's not that he knows what I mean by bed, but my assumption is that he's developed an understanding as to what he
defines "bed" as. When I say "bed" and it's not directly in sight, he immediately goes around the room looking for it (he assumes he's getting a treat and gets excited =/) whereas he could just lay on anything he normally lays on, couch, balcony sill, dining chair, etc. If he can't find the bed, he won't just try to lay down anywhere. He'll come back and stare or bark at me.
Hmmm, I don't want to come off as arguing with you, I just want to explain what's happening as best I can.
Ok, to test your theory, as best as I un-scientifically can, how about this, today I will take that towel away and throw something else on the floor, in direct sight of his regular bed and let him lay on it for five minutes, not telling him to get off or calling it his bed (he lays on anything soft that gets put on the floor) but only for 5 minutes because I'm testing that he wouldn't have developed the association yet that this is also a "bed" even though it is something soft to lay on because it hasn't been his
for long enough. Then I'll get him to come away, do some other commands, like "down" where he just plops down wherever he is, etc., and then try "bed" and see which one he goes to. I'll even make the soft whatever closer. One of two things will happen, either he'll go past it to his regular bed, or he'll try to go to the soft thing to test me if this also counts, in which case I won't have a conclusive answer. If you can think of a better way to give this a go at home, I'm all ears.