In a major breakthrough, talking Sheepadoodle Bunny from Tacoma, WA has shown an understanding of relative time, able to recount activities she did throughout her day, and when she did them.
Watch what happens in this Instagram post:
I had a meeting with the two scientists running the study at UCSD, and they suggested that I begin asking Bunny questions that encompass a larger span of time to get a sense of her forward and backward episodic memory capabilities. I hadn’t asked her questions like this before. Normally after a walk or other such activity, I model “Bunny went walk, home now” or something like that. Immediately after our meeting ended, around 5:30 pm, I went over to the board to see what would happen in a scenario like this, and was floored.
A post shared by I Am Bunny (@what_about_bunny) on Oct 12, 2020 at 11:47am PDT
Alexis Devine, together with Bunny, asks her dog, "When Bunny went park?"
After taking some time to think, Bunny responds, "home."
Devine doesn't give up, and patiently clarifies: "Home now. But when Bunny went park?"
After a bit more thinking, Bunny presses the button for "morning!"
This is huge, and it brings up questions of just how different executive functioning is between us and other animals. Do dogs have the ability to plan their day? Do they internalize sequences of events like their human counterparts? More research will tell. In the meantime, Bunny the talking dog will not doubt continue to amaze us.
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