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Video: Dog can change traffic lights at crossing

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A CANNY canine is earning celebrity status for a clever trick that is stopping traffic – and sending some motorists barking mad.

Helpful mongrel Shadow, who is known to obey up to 30 commands, has become famous for activating pedestrian crossings during her daily walks in Silverknowes by springing up and hitting the button with her mouth or paw.

Her antics have delighted schoolchildren walking to class but left drivers dumbfounded – and others fuming – as they hit red lights with no-one crossing the road.

Owner Chris Paterson, 72, said the labrador-Staffie cross is a constant surprise and the smartest dog he has ever owned.

“She is streets ahead of any dog I have ever had and I’ve had four dogs in my life,” he said.

“Shadow just takes to things easily – you just have to tell her once and she’s got it. She’s a great problem solver but doesn’t really do domestic chores and just goes her own way.”

Mr Paterson said his prized pet was a rescue dog who was found 
wandering between Dunfermline and Crieff in 2005.

“What happened is that she has watched me pressing the button on the crossings during her walks and I think she likes that beeping sound it makes,” he said.

“If I ever have her off the lead, when we get near the crossing she just bounds up and hits the button with the paw and her mouth. The lollipop lady tells me Shadow does it because she’s helpful and wants to help get people across the road, but I suspect she just likes the beeping noise.

“A lot of people in the local shops say ‘there’s that dog that presses the crossing’ and there’s parties of schoolchildren who all gasp when they see her do it.”

But not everyone is an admirer of Shadow’s skills.

“I had one driver who wound down his window after being stopped at the lights and you couldn’t print the words he used!”

The eight-year-old’s high IQ is not limited to the roadside however, with Shadow’s knack for door-opening prompting comparisons with the feted escape artist Harry Houdini.

“She won’t let a door beat her,” said Mr Paterson, a retired Justice of the Peace. “She can open doors easily, even our sliding door into the greenhouse. I don’t think there’s a door that has beaten her.”

Dog behaviour expert Joanne Drysdale, 28, who runs the firm Edinburgh Dog Training, said Shadow’s breeding could be key to her 
intelligence.

“You get dogs that are more intelligent than others and coming from a 
working-type breed Shadow should be a clever dog who likes to please her owner,” she said.

“I haven’t heard of a dog that hits pedestrian crossings before but this dog certainly knows how to problem solve with an owner who knows how to train her.

“Dogs that are confident and determined will keep trying things and if they like it they will keep doing it.”

• Do you have a pet more talented than Shadow? If so we’d love to hear your story. Call us on 0131-620 8748 or e-mail david.mccann@edinburghnews.com

 

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