7 Ways Your Dog Is Smarter Than You Thought
If one thing has become clear in 2017, it's that the Internet really loves dogs. And I mean, who wouldn't? They're cute. They're cuddly. They, unlike some pets, actually love us back. If you still aren't convinced dogs are a superior animal, there's a bunch of scientific proof that points to the fact that your dog is smart. That's right, the same fluffy creature who barks at the vacuum and licks the floor is actually more intelligent than we give them credit for. We truly do not deserve dogs.
A recent study published in Animal Cognition found that dogs are able to take on the perspective of others, also called "theory of mind." Basically, it means that your dog can read your thoughts better than you think. In the study — a study I wish I was a part of — had some humans hide food in a container while the dogs watched, and a second human looked away. 70 percent of the time, the dogs were able to tell which of the humans had seen the food being hidden and then used that information to their advantage to get the food. In addition to this study, there are others that point to dogs' intelligence in different capacities.
Your Dog Can Tell When You're Being Rude
A study published in January found that dogs can tell when humans are being rude to each other, so if you're not going to be nice to people because it's a good thing to do, do it because your dog can tell when you're being a jerk.
Your Dog Gets Jealous
Your dog gets jealous, just like you. A recent study found that dogs were twice as likely to try to get their owners' attention when they saw them playing with a fake dog. As if you needed more reason to show your dog some love, do it so he doesn't get jealous.
Your Dog Will Deceive You To Get Treats
It turns out dogs are not only smart — they're sneaky, too! A study published in March found that not only do dogs deceive each other to get what they want from each other (i.e., pretending to see something outside so their mark will give up their prime sleeping spot), but they'll also deceive their owners in order to get food. So don't fall for those puppy dog eyes, because your pup knows exactly what he or she is doing.
Your Dog Can Recognize Human Emotion
A groundbreaking 2016 study determined that dogs can recognize emotion in humans by putting together information from different senses. The dogs in the study put together images of positive or negative emotions with positive or negative sounds and were able to match the images with the sounds. This is a big deal because it was previously believed that dogs just picked up on emotions from social cues. Even more importantly, before the study, people thought that only humans were capable of combining information from various senses to interpret emotion. See, your dog is smart!
Your Dog Can Empathize With You
Again, unlike certain pets who seem to revel in your misfortune, dogs feel empathy. Ever notice how when you yawn, your pooch yawns too? That's because of a thing called "emotional contagion," or empathy. Other studies have found that dogs are receptive of their owners' emotions and their behavior is influenced by the expression of those emotions. They can also sense when their owners are angry and adjust their behavior accordingly. So your dog has emotional intelligence — somebody call Corinne.
Your Dog Understands Gestures And Social Cues
Dogs are basically like small children when it comes to interpreting gestures. If you point at an object, your dog will be able to interpret your gesture and find the object you're pointing at. They interpret more subtle gestures, too, like following a human's gaze to find hidden objects — a task even some apes struggle with. In fact, some scientists think dogs are actually closer to humans than chimps.
Your Dog Can Count
Dogs can count up to four or five and recognize basic mathematical errors. They can also develop a vocabulary of about 165 words, remember the locations of items they care about (like how Sparky remembers where he buried his bone), and even operate simple machinery like a latch. So don't let anyone tell you your dog is dumb ever again. Dogs are super smart, and it's just another reason we love them so much.