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Latest Study Determines Dogs Are Capable Of Reading People's Minds

Mind reading dog

To anyone who is familiar with the eerily human-like qualities of man’s best friend, the news that dogs can read your mind shouldn’t come as any surprise. The latest research adds to growing evidence that dogs can interpret both human body language and general behavior and use it to their advantage.

“Dogs and (human-raised) wolves are capable of distinguishing between a person looking at them, someone who’s paying attention and someone who’s not,” said Monique A.R. Udell, lead author of a study published recently in the journal Learning & Behavior. “They’re more likely to beg (for food) from someone paying attention to them.”

Researchers have been learning more and more about the surprising capabilities and intelligence of Canis lupus familiaris, better known as the domestic dog.

One recent study found that dogs have the developmental abilities of a human 2-year-old, with the average dog capable of learning the meanings of 165 words.

“Over the last five years or so, we’ve been trying to understand how dogs and relatives of dogs such as wolves respond to social companions,” explained Udell, who was a researcher at the University of Florida in Gainesville when the study was conducted.

The latest study involved groups of pet dogs, stray dogs from a shelter and hand-raised wolves (named Tristan, Miska and Marion, among other monikers) who were comfortable around humans.

Two people stood about 6 meters apart, one of them looking directly and continuously at the dog or wolf. The other person had their vision blocked, either with a bucket over their head, a book obscuring their face or because their back was turned. Both humans held a piece of food.

“On average, both dogs and wolves were significantly more likely to be begging from the person looking at them when the other person’s back was turned,” said Udell.

But levels of sensitivity did vary by how domesticated the dog or wolf was.

“Domesticated dogs were more likely to beg from someone paying attention to them, but shelter dogs and wolves who don’t often see a person reading books were not likely to get that cue,” Udell related. “So it does seem like specific life experiences really do matter in this context.”

The findings, said Udell, are “important because previous research suggested that something happened to dogs during genetic domestication that made them begin to think like humans. This shows that wolves are capable, if reared with humans, of (picking up human cues).”

Story by Elaine Furst for Dog Files

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Glm714
Glm714
9 years ago

OH! All this time, I just thought my three dogs were brilliant! 🙂 

michael
9 years ago

Just shows dogs aren’t stupid, they know who likes them and definitely know who doesn’t.

michael
9 years ago

Just shows dogs aren’t stupid, they know who likes them and definitely know who doesn’t.

resume writing
9 years ago

oh)))) great photot))))€ very sweet)

Nancy Atkinson
Nancy Atkinson
9 years ago

So I am right to always trust my dogs instincts..!  sometimes someone will come to visit and I don’t trust them and my dog doesn’t either…He is a fun loving affectionate dog…But will growl at them…makes you go hummmmmm.

Nancy Atkinson
Nancy Atkinson
9 years ago

So I am right to always trust my dogs instincts..!  sometimes someone will come to visit and I don’t trust them and my dog doesn’t either…He is a fun loving affectionate dog…But will growl at them…makes you go hummmmmm.

Jennifer Blair
Jennifer Blair
9 years ago

Dogs are a lot smarter than people give them credit for.  Mine have shown that they will beg/ask for attention from someone who is paying attention to them rather than someone who won’t, so this study doesn’t really surprise me.  Great article!

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