Tag: dogs

Dogs Aren’t As Smart As Their Owners Think They Are

If you’re a dog owner, you likely know that your cherished dog is very, very smartbut scientists don’t necessarily agree with you. Dogs are certainly smarter than a dodo bird, but dogs are not the smartest animals of them all.

Why Did Fido Get An F?

When it comes to smart animals, dogs rank pretty low on the list. Dogs are relatively smart. They can learn tricks. They know when it’s time to eat, and they are experts are pulling on human heartstrings.

That being said, some other animals are way smarter than dogs. Pigs, for example, generally score higher than dogs on cognitive tests. Dolphins and monkies have also been proven to be smarter than dogs.

Comparing Apples To Oranges

Is it really fair to compare dogs to wild animals? For example, dogs are closely related to hyenas, but there is a key difference between dogs and hyenas. Dogs usually live in homes of their human companions while hyenas live in the wild. In some areas, hyenas test as being more intelligent than dogs, but those areas involve skills that only need to be used in the wild.

Dogs might have those skills buried somewhere deep down, but when a skill is not used it is lost. Modern dogs have been domesticated and cared for by humans for several generations, so they are behind the learning curve when it comes to things like hunting. Hyenas would likely score low on showing affection to humans and begging for food.

Out Of Sight Out Of Mind

There are plenty of other animals way smarter than dogs, but we don’t see those animals all the time. Humans live closely with dogs, which makes it easier to observe their intelligence.

We don’t see dolphins, hyenas, or giraffes on a daily basis, so we’re less likely to notice their intelligence. Scientists who study the intelligence of all types of animals are more likely to note the smarts of other animals.

Where Dogs Shine

Dogs have been known to be great problem solvers. For example, many dogs are able to figure out how to free themselves from kennels and other enclosures. Dogs also show great emotional intelligenceas many dog owners know, they seem to be able to tell when humans are feeling sad. With training, dogs can complete tasks that many humans could only hope to do.

Trained service dogs can even discern when their owners are going through a health crisis, such as a seizure or sudden drop in blood sugar. Seeing eye dogs help to guide their blind owners in new environments. Law enforcement dogs can be taught to sniff out drugs and bombs. Dogs that can sniff out a human scent have even been used in recovery efforts to find people trapped under debris after natural disasters. There’s no debating that dogs are amazing. They may not be the smartest animals in the world, but they will always be #1 in our hearts.

Dogs Can Recognize Bad People, Research Shows

Americans love their pups. These four-legged friends happen to be one of the most popular choices as companions. In fact, more than 89.7 million dogs were owned as pets in the United States in 2017. What’s more, new research indicates humans may have another reason to love dogs as much as they do: dogs can detect bad people.

A recent study, published in the journal, Neuroscience & Behavioral Reviews, shows that not only can your dog tell when you’re being a jerk, but they’re probably judging you for it, too. While many people trust their dogs to be great judges of character, adding a bit of science and research to back up this claim never hurt.

Man’s Best Friend

Dogs are some of the most loyal animals on the planet. Often protective of their owners, there’s no question that they’ve earned the title of “man’s best friend.”


Many people believe the bond between humans and dogs is so strong due to domestication, that humans and canines developed alongside each other after thousands of years together.

Others think that dogs love humans so much because they consider themselves equals to their humans.

However, a group of researchers out of Japan wanted to know more. They sought to uncover whether dogs’ responses to humans are simply automatic, or if they change depending on the humans’ actions.

Behind The Study

“Dogs are known to consistently follow human pointing gestures,” the researchers explained. “In this study, we asked whether dogs ‘automatically’ do this or whether they flexibly adjust their behavior depending upon the reliability of the pointer, demonstrated in an immediately preceding event.”

During the study, several dogs went through various scenarios. In one scenario, a volunteer was instructed to assist someone struggling to open a jar.

In the first group, the volunteer helped the person open the jar. In the second group, the volunteer refused to help. Then, the same volunteers offered the pups a treat to determine how, if at all, they responded to the volunteers’ behavior.

As it turns out, the dogs were way more receptive to the volunteer who helped open the jar and took the treat from them. However, the dogs completely ignored the volunteer who refused to help, even with a treat in the volunteer’s hand.

This indicates that dogs can understand and evaluate when people are being mean. In addition, they favor those who exhibit kind, helpful behaviors and choose to ignore people with bad attitudes.

Incredible Inferences

“These results suggest that not only dogs are highly skilled at understanding human pointing gestures, but also they make inferences about the reliability of a human who presents cues and consequently modify their behavior flexibly depending on the inference,” the researchers concluded.

Amazingly, it seems that dogs are an even better judge of character than some humans. The lesson here? Think twice before acting like a jerk in front of your dog. Better yet, think twice before acting like a jerk, period.