Remember the last time you had to spell words to keep your pooch from catching on? Probably when you took her for a walk an hour ago, right?
Here's why your little fluffy is so smart.
Science has shown that several animal species can out-perform dogs in some areas of intelligence. Wolves are better at solving problems. Unlike dogs, several primates and even dolphins and elephants show human-like self-awareness. They even pass the “mirror test,” understanding what it does. (If you surreptitiously put something red on an elephant's forehead – something it can't feel – and then you hold up a mirror, the elephant will see the red shape and know that it is seeing itself in the mirror and not some other elephant. Then it will reach its trunk up to its forehead to investigate the red shape.)
This self-awareness is rare in the animal world, and dogs don't have much of it. But dogs can do something complex that no other animal can do.
They can watch, listen to, and read people.
|Photo from PetLifeRadio .com|
In fact, dogs are the only animals that really study people's faces. (For many species, including several primates, looking another creature in the eyes is a form of aggression. And of course it is considered aggressive behavior among some groups of humans, too.)
In a departure from other animals, dogs study their owners' faces. As you know, they do this with intensity. Tests have shown that dogs are far superior to other animals in understanding what a person wants, just by the look on the human's face.
Think of your own dog. If you even glance toward the leash or the dog treats, your dog will notice and get excited. Of course, this applies to your words as well. If you're like most dog owners, you have developed elaborate techniques for communicating with other people in ways to keep your dog from finding out your meaning. You can't even mention the words “going for a walk” without your dog jumping up and scratching the floor as he or she runs around excited.
Dogs understand us in a way no other animal can. The brilliant chimp who has a large vocabulary of sign language can't come close to a dog in understanding what a human wants by the look on the human's face.
Dogs are amazing and unique among species. When it comes to emotional intelligence, they have no equals.