There is so much to learn from them … and they keep surprising us more and more. We love dogs! The umpteenth study on dogs appeared in “Scientific Reports”. And it shows that dogs understand the consequences of their actions. Not less. And they can see their own body as an obstacle. The study was carried out with 32 domestic dogs.
Skilful and loyal
Previous research has shown that dogs have complex cognitive abilities. You develop empathy and social learning. However, it was unclear whether they also show any form of self-esteem. Like crows, for example.
The researchers Péter Pongrácz and Rita Lenkei come from the Eötvös Loránd University (Hungary). They included the dogs in an evaluation assignment. The animals were required to collect a toy and deliver it to their owner while standing on a small mat to which the toy was attached. To lift the toy, the dogs had to leave the carpet.
The authors investigated when the dogs left the mat most often and earlier. Dogs are more likely to leave the mat with the toy in their mouth when glued to the mat than when glued to the floor. The results suggest that the dogs were able to see their own body as an obstacle. Being on the carpet prevented her from giving the toy to its owner. You could distinguish between variable conditions. They knew when it was necessary to take off the mat to get the task done, and when leaving the mat didn’t solve the problem.
The results could support the idea that dogs have body awareness. They develop the ability to understand their own body’s relationship to objects outside of themselves. And this is considered a forerunner of self-confidence. That dogs understand the consequences of their actions can be attested by many people who live with them. But there is nothing like a scientific study to keep dogs surprising us.