Dr. Juliane Kaminski, of the University of Portsmouth’s Department of Psychology, and colleagues reported the first scientific evidence that dogs may be able to understand a human’s point of view in the journal Animal Cognition on Feb. 11, 2013.
Forty-two female and 42 male domestic dogs aged one year or older took part in the tests. The dogs were chosen only if they were comfortable without their owners in the test room, even in complete darkness, and if the dogs were interested in food.
Even though their owners had prohibited the dogs from taking food, the dogs were four times as likely to snatch some food disobediently in a dark room.
This behavior indicates that the dogs are aware that their owners could not see what the dogs were doing in the dark.
Dog’s sight is better in the dark than human sight.
This research is the first evidence that dogs may have some understanding of human’s point of view and can act on that understanding.
While pet owners, in majority, ascribe certain anthropomorphic understanding to their dogs, no scientific basis for that concept has existed until this research was published.
Anthropomorphism is the ascribing of human characteristics to animals and includes feeling and a sense that animals understand what people are thinking.