15 NOVEMBER 1946, Page 17


Is it an illustration of the intelligence of dogs that they give continual evidence of being troubled by a conscience? The other day in the Lake Country a sheep-dog bitch came into the house looking singularly sheepish, so to say, and quite obviously ashamed of herself. The dog's behaviour at once set her owner's mind on an enquiry as to what she had done ; and the answer was soon found. The puppy, that had always been in close attendance on its mother, was missing. It seems that the unnatural mother had taken it out on the Fells and lost it intentionally ; and shepherds thereabouts alleged that this is not uncommon. At a certain time the mothers feel that they wish to be no longer burdened and the child must look after itself. Several particular instances were quoted. How far this is true I do not know ; but birds certainly experience this phase. I have seen a domestic hen quite suddenly turn on her chicks and drive them savagely away and refuse thereafter to have anything to do with them, and, as I can witness, robins may become all at once savage enemies of their offspring. But dogs —?