May 16, 2012

My Dog Listens, But Does He Understand?

Vanessa Dopker, Popular Science


AP Photo

That depends. Dogs aren’t linguists, but they have remarkably good social cognition skills. Daniel Povinelli, a psychologist at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, tested dogs’ ability to read cues from people. He placed a reward (a scrap of food, for example) under one of two buckets while the dog was out of sight, and he masked both buckets with an odor. Then he brought in the animal and had it guess which bucket held a reward, while researchers gestured toward the correct one.

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TAGGED: Understanding, Dogs

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