Dog owners all around the world think that their dogs are intelligent and that there is a lot more going on inside their head besides eating, playing and sleeping. Now, there may be a new experiment that may prove that.
A new research experiment is showing that dogs are capable of “deciding how to imitate a behavior based on the specific circumstances in which the action takes place.” Researchers trained Guinness, a female border collie, to push a wooden rod with her paws to get a treat. Dogs will usually not use their paws and will naturally use their mouth for tasks when possible.
Scientists used three test groups of dogs:
- The first group did not watch Guinness and 85% of the dogs pushed the rod with their mouth.
- The second group watched Guinness push the rod with her paw while holding a ball in her mouth. About 80% used their mouth and the researchers suggested that the dogs decided Guinness was only using her paws because she had no choice.
- The third group watched Guinness push the rod with her paw with nothing in her mouth. 83% of the dogs used their paws to push the rod and the researchers suggested that there was a good reason that dogs went against their instincts and followed what Guinness did.
The researchers infer that dogs can put themselves in the head of another dog to make complex decisions and say that: “this suggests they can actually think about your intention — they can look for explanations of your behavior and make inferences about what you are thinking.” Some scientists say that it shows that dogs have a sense of awareness and a higher level of consciousness. The scientists of the experiment say that more research needs to be done to make any conclusive findings. (I’m sure every dog owner knows how smart dogs really are.)