The Max Planck Institute, in Leipzig, Germany is studying just how much human behavior our dogs are capable of learning and understanding. For instance, do dogs understand it when we extend our arm and fore finger and point? Studies show they do, approximately 90% of the time. Hidden food was the reward in the test.
Studies were also done to test how dogs perceive our eye movements. Could a person use their eyes to "direct" a dog to where the food is hidden, with no other clues? Once again, studies show they can.
The eyes are very important when it comes to communication. Here is an interesting test they did, to find out how important it is for your dog to see your face and eyes when communicating.
They put 3 people in a room and set them each in a chair. Person #1 had no obstruction of the face or eyes. Person #2 had a blind fold covering the eyes only. Person #3 had a red bucket completely covering their head and eyes. A dog was brought in and instructed to beg from the human. In every test, the dog would choose Person #1 whose head and eyes could be seen. Seeing your face and eyes are an important part of communication.
Another example of this was a test they done with 2 humans and a dog. One human laid a treat down and instructed the dog to leave it alone. Then the human just sat there with their eyes open, looking straight ahead. The dog was a little temped, but didn't touch the treat. Next they placed a person in a room who laid down the treat and again instructed the dog to leave it alone. But this time, the person sat with their head straight ahead, eyes closed. Guess what? The dog walked around the treat once or twice, then ate it! This shows that dogs are aware of what we can see when our eyes are open. They apparently won't touch the treat if we've got an eye on them, but if we fall asleep, the dog has no conscious at all!
"Mapping" is a technique, that was once thought of as a human behavior, not something that canines were capable of. Studies have proved this theory to be wrong. "Mapping" is this: Lets say your dog has 10 toys and he knows the names of each one. You buy a new toy, name it "red toy" and put it in the mix, and then ask your dog to fetch the "red toy". The dog knows the name of all his toys and by the process of elimination, he figures out which one is the "red toy". We teach this to first graders as well. The child has a picture of a pig, a cow, and a crow. The child is asked to circle the crow. The child already knows what a pig and a cow are, so the other one must be the crow. Again, it's the process of elimination. It's amazing that some dogs are capable of this kind of "thinking and reasoning".
I think this stuff is amazing. I've always believed that dogs are smarter than
Do you think you could hide food some place in a room and direct your dog to it, with only a point, or eye movement, and no other clues? Most bird dogs are taught to pay attention to cues and whistles from their master, as well as most working breeds. But how about the eyes? Can you direct you dog with just eye contact? Go ahead. Try it.
For the paper on the study, Click this: Human-Like Social Skills in Dogs? You should find it online in PDF form.