The majority of the time, we believe that we have the ability to select our dogs. However, the fact of the matter is that there are occasions when our pets pick us. Dogs and people share a special bond due to the fact that they have developed concurrently with people over the course of thousands of years.
Even though the study of canine psychology is still in its infancy, researchers have already been able to disprove previously held beliefs on the level of intelligence and empathy that dogs actually possess.
An investigation conducted in Japan demonstrated that canines are capable of determining who they can put their faith in.
During the experiment, the researchers showed a container that was full of several types of food. It should come as no surprise that the dog dashed over to it right away.
The experiment was then carried out once more, but this time there was not anything in the containers. When the dog rushed to it, he discovered that the food had been removed. And the result is the dog resisted going close the container as early as the third attempt.
To determine whether the behavior is consistent, the experiment was conducted on a further 34 puppies.
It showed that canines do not heed indications from people they perceive as being “untrustworthy”. Researchers were shocked by the experiment’s findings, which demonstrated how smart dogs are.
They can, for one, interpret visual clues. Dogs understand that when you point at something, you are drawing their attention to that particular object. This kind of grasp of non-verbal cues is not displayed by all species, not even by monkeys.
Second, they discovered that dogs are quick to gain knowledge through experience. In such a short amount of time, they are already capable of determining whether or not a person will attempt to take advantage of them.
It is common knowledge that dogs have a form of non-verbal communication with humans.
And even if they are aware that a person is giving them a cue, such as in this case to go to the container by pointing at it, dogs are able to adjust their own behavior and choose not to follow the person’s lead.
According to Akiko Takaoka, a researcher at Kyoto University, this merely demonstrates that “dogs have more sophisticated intelligence than we thought”.
The findings of the investigation also revealed: “These results suggest that not only dogs are highly skilled at understanding human pointing gestures, but also they make inferences about the reliability of a human who presents cues and consequently modify their behavior flexibly depending on the inference.”
However, this is not the only thing that research suggests dogs are capable of understanding.
In a different piece of research, the researchers demonstrated that dogs are genuinely capable of picking up new words. Although the ability to remember words might vary from one dog to the next, it is possible to teach a dog to remember more than a thousand different words via proper training.
And while we’re on the subject of language, studies have shown that dogs not only understand the sounds of our words but also the meanings of the words themselves.
It’s possible that co-evolution with humans led to the development of these abilities.
It should come as no surprise that dogs feel an emotional connection to their owners given the level of intimacy that exists between the two parties in this relationship. An area of the canine brain called the caudate nucleus, which is involved in emotional attachment, lit up with activity in one of the “more remarkable studies” when it was exposed to the scent of the dog’s owner.
It just goes to show how absolutely incredible dogs are, and if there’s anything we can learn from these trials, it’s that maybe you shouldn’t pull as many pranks on your dog as you normally would because it could cause a breakdown in the trust that you have with each other.