Your Super Smart Dog – Maybe Not So Much?
Your best friend, your loyal companion, your noble hound...smarter than most too, right?
Maybe not so fast.
While you might think your dog is of above-average intelligence, but there's a pretty good chance you’d be wrong. British researchers looked at domesticated animals, social hunters, and carnivores like wolves, bears, lions, and hyenas and they compared sensory, spatial, social and self cognition or awareness.
They discovered that the cognitive abilities of dogs were at least matched by several species in each of these groups. Specifically goats, pigs, dolphins, seals and sea lions were found to be as good as dogs at following human pointing, while sheep, pigeons, and chimpanzees were also as good as dogs at identifying humans by their faces.
Pigs were as good as dogs at identifying humans by their smell, and cats were as good at identifying them by their voices. Dolphins, chimps, giant pandas, American badgers, two species of bear, and sea otters were all found to be as good as dogs when it came to using tools.
All of sudden old Fido isn't seem so special!
Lead researchers say that taking all three groups into account, dog cognition doesn't look exceptional. In fact we may be expecting too much of them. Dogs are dogs, and people need to take their needs and true abilities into account when considering how to treat them.
Perhaps we could start by taking them out of those purses?