Dogs and the Power of Observation


“From a dog’s point of view his master is an elongated and abnormally cunning dog.”  – Mabel L. Robinson

Why is it that dogs seem to immediately know someone’s intentions but that it takes us so much longer to figure them out?  Perhaps we’re just as good as interpreting the situation but we’ve covered it up with all of the other functions that our higher level brain is so good at.

The key appears to be a dog’s ability to observe and discern patterns of movement — perhaps a result of their ingrained hunting instinct.  For example, when I dress in the morning, one of our dogs, Diesel, lounges quietly until he hears me take my shoes from the rack — at which point he springs to life as if with an imaginary cartoon bubble above his head, “We’re going for a walk!”  Sure, sometimes I’m just going downstairs to get coffee, but often enough Diesel is right.

Your colleagues in your group, your competitors and contracting partners, and the administrators at your hospitals are predictable, too, if you allow your powers of observation to rise above the weight of neuro evolution.   Sure, every time “Bob” repeats a pattern does not mean that he’s “going for a walk,” but the odds are usually in favor of the fact that he is.  And, unlike dogs, we can take steps to hedge our bet in the event that we are wrong.

If someone calls you a dog, thank them for the compliment.

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