Donnie is a very interesting doberman. National Geographic featured him on their “Genius Dogs” show. He displays an unusual behaviour where he arranges his stuffed toys into specific patterns of circles or triangles. It’s not clear what the motivation for this behaviour is although.
Is it thought out, random or is it just creative expression?
Donnie the doberman is a rescue dog and little is known about his past other than he was kept in a kennel for about a year and he was slow to adjust to his new home and owner. He had to learn basic things like how to climb stairs and go through doorways.
Donnie eventually started arranging his stuffed toys in specific patterns. The toys would be purposefully laid out one by one in patterns of circles, triangles or straight lines. He would also create similar groupings of all frogs or all monkeys, face up or face down. Even more interesting is that his toys would sometimes be laid out with the hands touching.
It is bizarre to watch Donnie in the video. It is also especially touching and fascinating how Donnie let his owner put her arm around him and then began organizing his toys in hugs.
Babara Smuts, a professor at the University of Michigan is researching this dog behavior. She suggests that this behaviour may be self-entertainment or it may be linked to his time in a shelter with only one toy. Since there have not been enough cases of this dog behaviour, a scientific explanation cannot be made. If you have a dog that displays similar behaviour, you may wish to contact the professor and help contribute to her research.
What do you think Donnie is expressing with his toy arranging behaviour. Does your dog also arrange his toys in patterns?