Do Dogs Generalize? Callie Golden Retriever Has Figured Out Where to Find Tennis Balls

I’ve written before about Callie’s tennis-ball-finding skills, but she continues to amaze — and teach some lessons about how dogs think.

Sometimes, at Lake Arrowhead, we walk past the UCLA Conference Center tennis courts.  They are surrounded by the typical tall, green chain-link fence and screen — and also by some tall bushes.  I figured out, a few years ago, that there is often a lost tennis ball hiding between the bushes and the screen.  So several times I reached in and retrieved tennis balls for Callie.

But then Callie broke the code.  She realized that the bushes by the tennis court were a great hiding place for tennis balls.  She got so that every time we were near the bushes, she would look inside the bushes as we walked by — and, occasionally, retrieve her own tennis ball.

Read the rest of this post.