Have you been reading the news recently? Then you might have read about a little piece of research by a Dr Juliane Kaminski. She discovered that dogs are four times more likely to ignore an order to leave food in a dark room than in a light one. Not so different from a mischievous child? Apparently dogs are more intelligent than scientists originally thought.
Though, any dog owner could have told you that, without the need for expensive time consuming research! Not that I think research is not justified. In this case, this piece of research puts all dog owner’s little stories into facts and figures.
So dogs know that we cannot see very well in the dark therefore they will ignore an order if they think they can get away with it. My boyfriend, Chris, has two dogs, a golden retriever called Eagle and a little sheltie called Vicky. Whilst we have never done any experiments to test their cheekiness, we have certainly seen enough to know that there is more than what meets the eye.
We are also sure that if a dog feels like they might get away with it, they might take a risk. Take this for example, Eagle is a bit of a pig and he knows he is not allowed to eat off the table. He wouldn’t even dare to, if we were present. So one time, Chris’s family placed a bowl of kiwis on the coffee table and then they left the house, each to do their own things. Later on, when his dad gets home, he asks Chris who ate all the kiwis. There was not a trace of kiwi left anywhere and none of his family ate any. Without a doubt, Eagle had devoured the lot once everyone was out of sight.
Now here’s another little story which was quite amusing. Chris’s mum came home one day to find an unpleasant surprise in the kitchen. One of the dogs had done a massive poop on the floor. She turned to both dogs and asked who did it. Dogs can sometimes appear to show guilt at their actions. Eagle sat there panting, like he was the happiest boy alive with his tail wagging. Vicki on the other hand had his tail between his legs, head lowered and displaying all the signs of doggy guilt. His mum started reprimanding him and Vicky stuck out his paw for the customary three little taps that lets him know he was naughty. Then Chris mentions to his mum that a poop that large could not possibly come from a small dog like Vicky.
We will never know why Vicky acted guilty, maybe he wanted to protect Eagle because he was higher up in the hierarchy.
Dogs can behave so strangely sometimes but they must have some understanding of us humans, otherwise they would not be called a man’s best friend. They are able to detect things we cannot, such as when a person with epilepsy might have an attack, they are able to see for people who cannot and they can find things we have lost. It is no surprise that a dog may be able to understand things from our perspectives, considering how long we have been living with them.