The Understanding Dog

Man’s best friend is better able to grasp their human owners’ points of view than previously realized.

By | February 12, 2013

FLICKR, BUZZFARMERSWhen the lights are turned off, dogs are more likely to break the rules—seemingly recognizing that they are less likely to get caught, according to a new study published in Animal Cognition. The study tested 84 dogs, first teaching them that a dish of food was forbidden, then killing the lights to see if the dogs’ behavior would change based on the changed circumstances of their owners.

Sure enough, the dogs were more likely to disobey and steal the food when the owners were less likely to see them. It is “unlikely that the dogs simply forgot that the human was in the room,” the authors wrote. Rather, the dogs appeared to realize that their owners can’t see as well in the dark.

“It implies dogs understand the human can’t see them, meaning they might understand the human perspective,” Juliane Kaminski of the University of Portsmouth in the United Kingdom told BBC News.

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February 12, 2013


Very cool article.  Our dogs demonstrate this kind of insight process all the time. For example, they stay off our beds while we are in the house and yet we have learned to close the door to the bedroom when we leave or they will jump up and and take a snooze, jumping off and "sleeping" on the floor when we enter the house. How did we find out about? They would sometimes forget to make the bed properly afterwards. Yes. They were pulling the covers and sheets back, sleeping head on pillow, covered up while we were gone>  We found out about it by the slight state of disarray in the covers and dog hair in the sheets, under the partially "almost back to normal place" covers. lol.. I think...

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