How does Sherlock (and other dogs) think?
I am sure some animal behaviorist has an answer.
I know Sherlock thinks. His ball went under the bookcase. He couldn't dig it out.
What did he do next?
When that didn't work he asked for help. He has different barks for different needs.
Years ago we had a Japanese chin Vixen pup. She was on the bed when we gave her her first chew toy. She wasn't sure what to do with it.
We also had a German Shepherd, Nikki, who was on the rug at the end of the bed.
Vixen jumped down and looked at how Nikki was holding her chew, jumped back on the bed and copied her.
The same pup, when she had a corneal abrasion, woke her mistress in the middle of the night and led her downstairs and went directly to the stand where her eye medicine, which dulled the pain, was. She then jumped up on a nearby chair and tilted her head so she could be treated.
My German Shepherd Kimm, adored my mother-in-law. Whenever we said, "Let's go see Grams" she would run to the door. She reacted the same way if the tone was ordinary and buried in other conversation about what we were planning to do.
But how do animals think without the vocabulary? I know they pick up our words. When Sherlock hears the word "stay" as we are planning to go out, he'll jump up on the couch, sometimes with a sigh, sometimes with a good-I-can-have-a-nap attitude.
Wild animals however are not exposed to human vocabulary yet they have to think things out to survive.
I suppose I could go back to university to study this, but it might be easier just to do some Internet research. I told Sherlock this. He just turned over and went back to sleep. I doubt if he knows anything about universities. Maybe if I still lived in Boston and walked him on the grass of Harvard Medical School like I did my other dogs, he would associate a university with a place to sniff and relieve himself.