One day I decided to teach Bella to weave in and out under my legs as I moved forward, using a treat in my closed hand as a lure. She caught on quickly and really enjoyed herself. When the game was over, Bella walked over to the fireplace and looked up at Roxanne. I realized she was making a request and took Roxanne down for her to play with. Bella shook Roxanne ecstatically for several minutes, until I returned Roxanne to her perch, out of harm's way. Several days later, I found some of Bella's toys lined up so they pointed to Roxanne (see photo), as if Bella was thinking about the wonderful time we'd had earlier. This sequence reminds me of the work of Vilmos Csyani, a Hungarian ethologist who has observed that dogs provide and request information in their relationships with humans, and are much smarter than scientists have previously given them credit for.
My husband bought the Long Bodied Purple Dog for Bella, and she really loves that toy. She spent the first day shaking it vigorously, and biting down on the dog's head to make it squeak repeatedly. The next day, Bella placed the Purple Dog just outside her canvas crate, so it pointed towards a couple of stuffed toys which were several feet away. That evening, I found the Purple Dog and 3 other stuffed toys grouped together (see photo). "Bella's herding instinct at work," I thought. The following day, Bella placed the Purple Dog in front of the door to my husband's home office, letting me know that she'd gone with him to do errands. The last day the toy was out, Bella again grouped the Purple Dog with the other stuffed toys, but varied the arrangement (see photo). Bella may be "the enforcer" when she's trying to herd other dogs, but when it comes to arranging her cloth toys, she does what I call "tender herding."
Bella's website is magnificent. Her constructions are becoming more and more intricate and amazing. Her attention to detail stuns me. As an educator, I think about a lesson for first graders. I would show Bella's sculpts to my kiddos and have them create some using multiple toys. The lesson would focus on looking carefully like Bella does, which way do the black deer's feet face and what is the rule for the other toys? Then moving to writing on paper, which way do your d's face,how about p's? Kids would love it. I find the leash sculptures with their loops to be jaw dropping and just wish that I could watch Bella create one. Of course I love the scent training too.
Thank you for sharing Oscars story. I loved it!! Can't wait for the next chapter.
Lance enjoys his walks with his new friend, Bella. Lance does not do anything as creative as Bella's sculptural constructs. However, Lance is GREAT at De-constructions! We can find evidence of his deconstructs all over the house as he carries everyone's slippers around and sometimes chews off the fuzzy cuffs of the slippers, or takes out the insides of his stuffed toys and scatters the remains around!
- Hugs and Licks to Bella,
- Evie and Lance
Thanks so much for sharing Bella's website with me! I'm familiar with Donnie, the Doberman & think it is so cool that Bella's talents are being showcased online!
- Jessica A
You sure must have your hands full, dealing with two such resourceful and intelligent dogs. But what a wonderful gift they bring.
- Steve D
Wow! ACD's are such intelligent dogs and Bella has demonstrated this in such an exceptional way. What a sweet and beautiful girl. And Kepu too! Good luck to you and your wonderful dogs and what a great website you have!
- Maris F
Bella is a lucky girl to have found someone who "gets" her! Is there a talent to chewing up stuffed toys? If so, my dogs are very talented! Great site! Keep it up.
- Cathy Y
I am amazed at your photos and your insight. You could be intuitive to Bella's and other dog's secondary communication. Thank you for sharing! Charlotte, NC
- Susan B
You were number 4 when I googled canine construction...Bella is famous!
- Susan B
What an interesting subject, and what a great dog! Before I read your blog, I had no idea that dogs created or expressed in this way. I am sharing the information with my friends who have dogs.
Sweet- I've never known a celebrity dog with her own website. How adorable she is.
- Heather Kriensky DVM
Website is so sweet. Pretty good pictures and illustrative of the Artist's work. I like it and wanted more. You present it without presumption. Let the viewer see what they see. Feels like a nice invitation to dialogue if others have a similar experience. Good work.
In Dog Sense author John Bradshaw writes about how dogs love their humans and want to please them. Clearly Bella loves her human and has figured out that her constructions please you. What a lovely relationship.
I was fascinated by Bella’s constructs. Before I opened the site I thought, “this is crazy.” But the photographs document something extraordinary and fascinating.
Maybe the camera,maybe Bella knows your scent and it changes when you are happy, maybe she watches your eyes and face for happiness???? Dogs are so amazing and the science behind their amazingness is starting to catch up to what good dog owners have known all along.