Some people don't give dogs credit for any thought other than "where's my next meal?" I disagree. I live with some very smart dogs that play jokes, set up traps for each other, figure out solutions to problems, dream and daydream.
Tsar is a good example. Tsar is a pretty good hunter, given the small opportunity he has to practice. He has caught a number of moles. His method is to sit quietly and stare at the molehill until the mole sticks his head out. He has endless patience.Then, bam, he hits it with his foot. Sometimes this kills the mole, in which case Tsar brings the body to the door and leaves it for me to find. If the mole is only stunned, he starts flipping it in the air and batting at it. I put a stop to this play as soon as possible.
Tsar chases rabbits and squirrels and stalks birds, looking like a huge black cat. He creeps along the ground, moving one slow step after the other. Except for one squirrel, he has never caught any of these creatures. He has brought turtles to the door, alive. I release them into the woods. He used to pick up toads and bring them to me. I discourage that strongly. Not only don't I want him hurting the toads, but some toads are toxic to dogs.
When there is no big game for him to hunt, Tsar pretends it exists. Yesterday I snapped some pictures of him hunting and fighting with his prey.
Whats that sound?
It's a dangerous, wild stick.
I've got it, but it's putting up a struggle.
It's trying to escape by flying, but I can fly, too.
It's not getting away from me.
I killed it, now I can eat my kill.
This little playacting goes on for awhile and I witness it pretty often, but because my camera is slow, I can't really capture it well in pictures. When you see him doing this, it's obvious what's going on in his mind. He's very catlike even though he's a 65 pound dog. He's graceful and fun to watch. We both agree that he's a great hunter.