Thursday, November 21, 2013

Strategic Dog

I don't remember if I posted about my strategic dog before, but there is a new puppy in the neighborhood which reminded me of this tale that I used to explain what being "strategic" means to my Intro to IR class.

In this game, only the dogs are relevant players.
Imagine two dogs, one small and one large.  Postulate a house with a backdoor leading to a fenced in backyard.  Small dog comes into living room which is next to back door, and wags his tail/butt indicating that he needs to go outside.  The person (me) gets up and opens the door.  Big dog zooms in from bedroom and goes outside, small dog waddles (part corgi) back to the bedroom.  I let big dog back in.  The same thing happens a few minutes later.  This time, I follow the small dog back to the bedroom.  He is trying to climb onto the bed where the big dog had been chewing on a treat until she had been distracted by the door opening.

So, the small dog was being strategic because he took into account the big dog's preferences:
outside > treat.

He took into account person's preferences:
being hassled by dogs, opening door often > dog piddling on carpet.

To get what he wanted, the small dog figured out what the big dog and person wanted and then manipulated both so that he could get some time to get access to what he wanted.

Hence, the dog was being strategic--knowing his preferences, knowing the other players' preferences and then acting accordingly.

And, yes, I miss the hell out of these two dogs, especially the smaller, smarter, more manipulative one.

1 comment:

Mrs. Spew said...

The big one was also strategic. Because the small dog had arthritis, he could no longer jump up on our big king size bed. So when the big dog got her treat, she would deliberately take it to the bed and leave it there for a bit, to taunt him, because she knew he couldn't get it.

But there was a bed chair on the floor at the bottom of the bed, there for either dog to curl up against during the day. So not only did the small dog counter the large one's treat strategy by using the people to get her out of the way, but he then was trying to get on to the bed by climbing the bed chair on to the bed -- tool usage.

In conclusion, your dog is watching everything you do and figuring out how to use it to advantage.