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Does the practice of not speaking directly about others' minds, but using ~がる to be indirect, apply to animals? i.e., would you ever say something like "犬は外に行きたがっている"? If so, does this vary when talking about your pets -- part of your household -- as opposed to unfamiliar animals?

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The Dictionary of Basic Grammar only states that it can be used with a person other than the speaker. However, It seems you can use ~がる with animals. I don't think it matters if the animal is familiar or unfamiliar.

I found その犬は中へ入り[外へ出]たがっている. at Weblio.

And here is an interesting article about why cats seem to want to eat their dead owners.

So, it seems like the animal doesn't have to be familiar to you since in the second link its a news story.

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