Part Two: Dog Intelligence and You – Your hands give clues for your dog, your eyes, the control
When someone points at something you get that the gesture carries a meaning, right? Well, you, as a human do, but what other species understands such a simple gesture? The highly intelligent apes who are the closest to us in social, mental and evolutionary similarities? Cats? Please. No to both. But dogs do.
That’s right, dogs learn (quickly) that a person’s pointing gesture is providing them with information and will follow up on it. Tests of having food placed under cups with no other clues to the dog than a simple point as to which cup contains the treat can send the test dogs right to the proper cup.
Okay, I heard that. Yes, the dog’s sense of smell is highly developed. See my article > That amazing canine nose knows. But hey, those smart researches thought of that in developing the test. All cups used had the scent of the treats on them – so there.
Similar tests with highly intelligent ape subjects, failed time and again when the only clue was a hand gesture.
Why is that?
Evolutionary, Anthropology, and Sociology theorists speculate that since dogs were selected as our domestic partners eons ago, that they have learned to interpret our gestures. It was a matter of survival for them as well as our ancient ancestors. Learn more> The Many Ways that Dogs Changed the World
Since ape survival was never associated with human contact, our movements have little, of any, meaning to them. Why should it? But sometimes I wonder if this applies to folks around me, too.
Anyway, remarkable studies in Europe and now at Duke University are providing amazing insights into this and other people/pet phenomenon.
Brian Hare, Assistant Professor of Evolutionary Anthropology, studies the cognition of domestic dogs at the Duke University’s Canine Cognition Center, where people bring their dogs in to participate in some of the same problem solving games presented to great apes and children.
Professor Brian Hare and his associates are hoping to understand more about the effect of domestication on dog cognition, identify breed differences in problem solving skills and generally understand the constraints of dog cognition in order to help understand how we might help dogs be more effective companion animals (for disabled people, detection of substances, SAR dogs etc.).
Watch the embedded video produced by Time, to see just how the researchers at Duke are going about this study.
If you would like your dog to participate in the problem solving games or you would just like more information about the Duke Canine Cognition Center, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
But wait! There’s more! Remember how I pointed out in my last article how a dog will act like a disobedient child when you are out of the room? Well, there is a reason for it. Uh, you did read it didn’t you? > Ever wonder what’s going on behind those soft brown eyes of your dog? Researchers have discovered another, totally unexpected, and basically mind-blowing relation factor between people and dogs.
Check back for part three: >
Part Three: Dog Intelligence and You – > The Eyes Have it!
Revisit PartOne: Dog Intelligence and You – > Ever wonder what’s going on behind those soft brown eyes of your dog?.
The eyes have it!
Woof for Now
Wrapping my arms around all things Dog
Want to learn hand gestures that your dog will understand and follow? Take a class with a reputable local dog trainer. Click here to learn about a DawgHugger recommended – top notch San Jose dog training service: > Stacy’s Wag-N-Train.