In college I took both an animal cognition class and an animal behavior class. Animal cognition studies an animal’s mental capabilities whereas animal behavior looks at the physical, sometimes more measurable, traits an animal performs.
The professors of both classes stated that there is a lot of great research on animal intelligence. They also both stated that performing research on domestic companion animals is very difficult because of the close connection we have to them. They warned that sometimes we might be a little biased based on our relationships.
“The Genius of Dogs: How Dogs Are Smarter Than You Think,” by Brian Hare and wife Vanessa Woods shares new canine research and offers insights on what your dog could be thinking. This book was released early February of this year.
The book’s author, Hare, hopes that when you finish this book, you combine what you have learned with your own observations to help you lead interesting discussions and debates with your fellow dog lovers.
Cognitive science refers to intelligence in animals a little differently then what you might think. Intelligence can be measured by how successful a species has managed to survive and reproduce in as many places as possible. This is the starting point of the book. The first chapter states “dogs have spread to all corners of the world, including inside our homes, and in some cases onto our beds.” This may suggest that canines are quite intelligent.
You can have your crazy cat people, but then you also have your equally passionate dog people.
“People are having less kids and treating their dogs better than ever,” Hare wrote.
Dogs also have more jobs than ever before. There are now service dogs, military dogs, police dogs, customs dogs, conservation dogs that find scat to help estimate populations sizes, bed bug dogs, therapy dogs and dogs that get rid of geese on tarmacs.