Tens of thousands of years of shared life have led dogs to develop behaviors that closely resemble human ones. The concept of animal intelligence is complex - and not in all the tests the canine one is more accentuated - but man's best friend has specialized in the "sapiens" material, and in this he remains unbeaten. Here are some surprisingly human, and not at all obvious, traits of his character, demonstrated in as many experiments. Dog and man: friends for 40 thousand years
They are capable of subterfuges. Especially when there is a sausage involved: behind those devout eyes there is an ability to manipulate us to get tasty snacks that we thought perhaps typical of felines. A recent experiment by the University of Zurich has shown that Fido is able to direct a human who believes selfish (and unwilling to feed him) towards a fake reward in order to ensure that he receives a treat from those he considers most generous - the master, usually . The biologist who conducted it had got wind of it after seeing a dog distract another one to an alleged point of interest, to steal his kennel.
He is a tireless moral judge. In particular with those who do not prove loyal to their master, to whom an absolute loyalty binds them. Dogs, such as capuchin monkeys and children from one year of age, judge humans based on how they behave with others, and can distinguish those who have antisocial behavior. During a study conducted in Japan they refused to accept food from the hands of those who had been disloyal to their bipedal friends. A non-obvious characteristic: dogs would know how to act even not in their own direct interest, unlike chimpanzees that are so similar to us.
They are jealous types (and do nothing to hide it). If he feels sidelined, the man's best friend sets off a resounding protest. In 2008, researchers at the University of Vienna taught some dogs to stretch their paws on command, regardless of the proposal for a reward. The quadrupeds have always started to do it, but when they realized that other dogs - and not them - were instead rewarded, they stopped stretching the limb, as in a scene of jealousy.
Some things you (maybe) do and your dog doesn't like
They tend to learn languages. In 2010 a border collie named Chaser was able to learn the names of 1022 objects, which he was able to recognize and report to researchers at Wofford College in Spartanburg (South Carolina), as well as classify them by macrogroups. Humans reach this linguistic capacity around 3 years of age: dogs could have evolved it to live better by our side. Can you recognize the language of dogs?
They understand the intentions of their fellows. When he sees another dog take an action, Fido does not simply copy it slavishly, but seems to grasp the motivations of the comrade and adapt the gesture to his own needs. If, for example, he sees a similar one lower a lever with his paw while his mouth is full, invited to repeat the action he will do it with his mouth and not with his limb. As if thinking, "He had to use his paw because his mouth was busy."
Dogs know how to take our point of view
They listen in a similar way to us. The canine and human brains respond in a similar way to "recall" sounds like that of barking dogs or laughing people. The activation areas are similar, as demonstrated by an experiment in functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), although of course, Fido's brain is activated more by the sounds emitted by its peers. The research would seem to address a common origin of the area that processes the voice in the brain, pointing to a common ancestor who lived about 100 million years ago. What is your dog thinking about? The fMRI tells you
They learn by inference. In other words, they know how to deduce information indirectly, by way of exclusion: if, for example, we hide food in two places, and then show Fido the one in which there is no food, he will understand that the snack is in the other. Another example of social inference: if they see us pointing in one direction, they turn that way. Other animals - like crows - learn by inference, but dogs seem to possess the extraordinary ability to use man as a tool for their learning.
That dogish look? Fear, not guiltYou might also like: Man and dog, a bond written in the genes How much is a year worth in a dog's life? Dogs may not like hugs How wolves became dogs Are you happy? Ask your dog Tens of thousands of years of shared life have led dogs to develop behaviors that closely resemble human ones. The concept of animal intelligence is complex - and not in all the tests the canine one is more accentuated - but man's best friend has specialized in the "sapiens" material, and in this he remains unbeaten. Here are some surprisingly human, and not at all obvious, traits of his character, demonstrated in as many experiments. Dog and man: friends for 40 thousand years