Research Study Shows Dogs Can Classify Complex Photos And Place Into Categories

dog photoAnimals continue to prove how intelligent they are.

A study from the University of Vienna in Austria has shown that dogs can classify complex color photographs and categorize them just like how humans can. The dogs also used touch-screen computers during the study, which eliminated possible human influence.

To show that dogs can place pictures into categories and transfer their knowledge to new situations, four dogs were shown landscape and dog photos in their training process. If the dog selected the dog picture, they were rewarded with a treat.

The dogs then participated in two tests. First, they were shown different dog and landscape pictures that they had never seen before. The dogs continued to select the photos with dogs on them, which showed that they could transfer what they learned before to a new situation.

In the second test, the dogs were shown new dog pictures pasted onto the landscape picture they initially saw in their training process. They were also shown pictures of a new landscape picture with no dog on the photo. The idea was to make them face contradictory information — a new positive stimulus in the form of new dogs’ pictures, and a familiar negative stimulus in the form of the landscape.

The dogs reliably chose the option with the dog in the photograph. Researchers said these results showed that dogs were able to form a concept, i.e. ‘dog’.

Source: Science Daily

12 Responses to “Research Study Shows Dogs Can Classify Complex Photos And Place Into Categories”

  1. Lynne says:

    That kind of explains why my schnauzer watches t.v.

  2. Katie says:

    This only goes to show what dog lovers have know all along.. our dogs are pretty intelligent!


  3. HB says:

    Very cool!

  4. Robert Davis says:

    Amen Katie!!!

  5. Carolyn & Maggie says:

    I love reading the results of all the new studies on how dogs think. We dog lovers KNOW how intelligent and clever they can be … and it is fun when scientific study confirms it.

  6. Stefani says:


    My mom lost her beloved maltese, Prufrock, in August. Sometime thereafter, she got a maltese puppy, Prudence. She keeps a photo of her Prufrock on her bed propped up where he used to lie, and the Prudence also sleeps with her. She told me that from the first night, the little puppy would go over to the photo of Prufrock and wag her tail, sometimes licking it. The puppy chose to curl up right next to the photo.

    Only in the last week or so has the puppy started sleeping next to my mom, instead of the photo. I think the puppy was missing her momma, and the other dogs where she was born.

    I had a hard time believe this was what it seemed to be, but it sounds like its perfectly reasonable to believe that she recognized this as “one of her kind.”


  7. Lynn says:

    I still suspect dogs are smarter than humans. But dumb souls that WE humans are, we just haven’t figured it out yet!

  8. kaefamily says:

    It shouldn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that dogs are intelligent species. Just because they don’t walk around snobbishly like those cats … ;-)

  9. catmom5 says:

    Cats are intelligent, just a bit more . . . particular, shall we say? :>)
    Actually, anyone who knows a dogs realizes just how smart they are! It’s we humans who aren’t so smart sometimes.

  10. Carolyn & Maggie says:

    Neat story, Stefani.

    (And love the names!).

  11. furmom says:

    Dogs are so much smarter than humans. They let the humans think they are training them when really it’s the other way around, and we don’t even know it. They don’t have to say a word, or even (usually) work for a living, but we provide everything they could need or want, just for the priveledge of having them in our homes. There fore I’d say they might even be smarter than the coyote I just saw trotting up my street, who has to live in the cold and by the skin of his own teeth.

  12. Velvet's Dad says:

    Whoa Kaefamily! Cats aren’t being snobbish, just hard to get. Once they get you, though, they’re just as loyal as dogs. :>)

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