"Bonding with owners is much more important for dogs than other pets,"
November 24, 2014 10:14 AM   Subscribe

"Dogs don't just seem to pick up on our subtle mood changes — they are actually physically wired to pick up on them." A recent neuroimaging study shows how closely tied to humans dogs have become over the last 30,000 years.
posted by quin (56 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
 
Cats would amused, if they gave a damn.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:22 AM on November 24, 2014 [3 favorites]


Not surprising, but still awesome :)
posted by triage_lazarus at 10:23 AM on November 24, 2014


Dogs are also the only non-primate animal to look people in the eyes.

Can this be true? It seems I have had eye-to-eye interactions with many cats, as well as a few horses, cows, birds and rodents. Maybe even a cetacean or two. Am I imagining this?
posted by ubiquity at 10:24 AM on November 24, 2014 [7 favorites]


It's interesting that they picked bigger dogs (Labs, Retrievers, Border Collies). I wonder what would happen with small dogs. Are their brains too small for MRIs? Or are they just too dumb?
posted by desjardins at 10:26 AM on November 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


Not surprising, given that dogs were one of the first animals we domesticated. Also, we've been selecting for traits like loyalty and obedience for millennia. Whereas with cat breeding, we tend to select for other traits.
posted by starbreaker at 10:27 AM on November 24, 2014


Can this be true? It seems I have had eye-to-eye interactions with many cats, as well as a few horses, cows, birds and rodents. Maybe even a cetacean or two. Am I imagining this?

Yeah, what they mean is that Dogs are the only ones to use eye contact to convey information. Timid/submissive primates and dogs will avoid eye contact and can become aggressive because of it.

It's so funny to watch someone taking your turn at the stopsign or cutting in line avoid looking at you like a dog trying to make off with your sandwich - as though if they pretend not to see you, you can't see them.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 10:30 AM on November 24, 2014 [4 favorites]


Cats are also hardwired to pick up on our subtle mood changes but unlike dogs they realized they don't have to give a shit in order to continue getting fed.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 10:30 AM on November 24, 2014 [16 favorites]


My dog loves me an uncomfortable amount (she is notorious for scanning crowds looking for me only to have a few false tail wag starts over other ladies with similar pony tails) and I am still pretty sure she'd prioritize the smell of a hot dog over the smell of me.
posted by skrozidile at 10:31 AM on November 24, 2014 [4 favorites]


More proof as to why there are no Republican dogs.
posted by valkane at 12:24 on November 24 [+] [!]


Them's yellow dogs. And there are too many of them. Unless they're labs. Not enough yellow labs on the planet for my liking. But a yellow lab is really mostly white--sort of like white bread out of a toaster too early. So they get a pass on the yellow dog thing. Or something. I think my blood sugar is low...
posted by Fezboy! at 10:35 AM on November 24, 2014 [4 favorites]


Obvious confound: all the dogs scanned were someone's pet. I'd like to see them try it with feral moscow dogs.

First possible outcome: no caudate activity. Interpretation: affinity for humans is learned, not necessarily genetic.

2nd possible outcome: caudate activity. Interpretation: Feral dogs, like their domestic brothers, view humans as potential sources of food. Follow-up study: Is there more caudate activity in feral dogs in response to the scent of an infant vs. an adult?
posted by logicpunk at 10:36 AM on November 24, 2014 [5 favorites]


Yeah, dogs have been bred to speak "human". I read not too long ago something about pointing: if you point at something, a dog will generally look towards what you are pointing at. Not even chimpanzees will do this: they'll look at your hand. Tens of thousands of years of domestication have bred dogs that share the basic of human body language.
posted by spaltavian at 10:38 AM on November 24, 2014 [17 favorites]


"More proof as to why there are no Republican dogs."

The democratic dogs I have met just wag their tail and evade the new stain on the berber.
posted by clavdivs at 10:38 AM on November 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


I wonder what would happen with small dogs. Are their brains too small for MRIs? Or are they just too dumb?

Can't be. Papillons, Corgis, and Schauzers are some of the smaller dogs out there and yet are considered very intelligent dogs in terms of adaptiveness and trainability.
posted by FJT at 10:41 AM on November 24, 2014


all the dogs scanned were someone's pet. I'd like to see them try it with feral moscow dogs.

There are really no "feral" dogs. They don't have the sort of wild instincts that can be switched back on like cats; it's been totally bred out of them. They can become mean and distrusting, but they'll still read human signals and actions. It's part of their genes now.
posted by spaltavian at 10:43 AM on November 24, 2014


if you point at something, a dog will generally look towards what you are pointing at.

They will actually understand the meaning of the gesture, unlike chimpanzees.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 10:46 AM on November 24, 2014 [4 favorites]


I suspect that cats have been breeding and training us, rather than the other way around; cf toxoplasmosis.

Even (or maybe especially) the feral/pariah dogs I've met have watched human face and body language intently. I say maybe especially because they have to assess your interest in throwing rocks or otherwise hurting them compared to your chance of dropping some food; their survival depends on reading people correctly.
posted by Dip Flash at 10:47 AM on November 24, 2014


I couldn't imagine scanning a "feral" dog with an MRI would provide much results. They picked (smart) dog breeds that could be trained to stay perfectly still within the machine - from what i remember of the "wild" dogs in Bucharest, there is no way you could get them to sit still in a big scary, weird smelling machine long enough to get a clean image.

I think even if you could take a "feral" dog and train it to stay still in the machine long enough to get a good MRI - the mere action of training it to stay still and listen to human commands would wind up end up taking away whatever "feral" variable might be different between trained pets and street dogs when it comes to people interactions.

(Quotation marks around feral & wild because I agree with above - these dogs are untrusting...but pretty much genetically programmed to domesticated with humans)
posted by Suffocating Kitty at 10:48 AM on November 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


Yeah, dogs have been bred to speak "human". I read not too long ago something about pointing: if you point at something, a dog will generally look towards what you are pointing at. Not even chimpanzees will do this: they'll look at your hand. Tens of thousands of years of domestication have bred dogs that share the basic of human body language.
posted by spaltavian at 10:38 AM on November 24 [2 favorites +] [!]


I saw that article too. On the blue I think(though damned if I can find it now). I believe that article went further and even indicated that not only does the dog recognize you pointing, but they get that you are indicating to them something "OVER THERE" instead of just, "hooman did a thing, so ill do this other thing". So they actually understand that you pointed for a reason and they get the cause/effect of that point. So wish I could find that now.
posted by Twain Device at 10:48 AM on November 24, 2014


"When dogs are scared or worried, they run to their owners, just as distressed toddlers make a beeline for their parents. This is in stark contrast to other domesticated animals: Petrified cats, as well as horses, will run away."

This is not true. I can provide testimony that a horse, or a mule, will come to its owner when in distress. Also, I've had experience with injured horses and mules that became calm and cooperative when I was trying to help--sewing up a wound, removing a nail from a hoof, unwinding a rope, adjusting a pack & saddle that had rolled under a belly).

I don't know about cats. I think cats figure that if they can't handle something, a mere human probably can't either.
posted by mule98J at 10:51 AM on November 24, 2014 [20 favorites]


I wonder what would happen with small dogs. Are their brains too small for MRIs? Or are they just too dumb?

Absolute brain size appears to have nothing whatsoever to do with functional intelligence, by the prevailing contemporary thought on the subject. It's the functional arrangement and organization of the brain's parts that determine intelligence. In fact, if you could somehow shrink an existing human brain down to the size of a walnut while maintaining all the relevant physical proportions to scale, that walnut brain would be significantly more efficient and able to perform operations much more rapidly than a full sized brain with the same arrangement of functional parts. Why? Because it takes less time and energy for signals to travel shorter distances... The smaller the brain, the less energy and time it needs to do the same things. Those physical factors are actually a big part of why computer tech has seen processing power increase so rapidly with miniaturization. In theory, bigger brains should be slower and less efficient than smaller ones with comparable layouts.

The science used to think it was size that mattered, then it was thought that size of brain to body proportion was what mattered, but all those previous views have been successfully challenged. It's the functioning components of the brain and how they function together that makes an animal more or less intelligent, nothing to do with size.
posted by saulgoodman at 10:52 AM on November 24, 2014 [4 favorites]


It's interesting that they picked bigger dogs (Labs, Retrievers, Border Collies). I wonder what would happen with small dogs. Are their brains too small for MRIs? Or are they just too dumb?

According to the article they did have some smaller dogs - one Boston Terrier, and one "Feist" who were both ~25 lbs. There are also adorable pictures of all on them in the article.

Full table below

Dog Breed Sex Age (yrs) Weight (lbs) Service or therapy dog training?
Zen Yellow Lab Male – neutered 3 70 Y
Tigger Boston Terrier Male – neutered 6 26 Y
Pearl Golden Retriever Female – spayed 3 50 Y
McKenzie Border Collie Female – spayed 4 35 N
Kady Yellow Lab Female – spayed 2 52 Y
Eli Viszla Male – intact 4 60 N
Caylin Border Collie Female – spayed 4 44 N
Callie Feist Female – spayed 3 25 N
Myrtle Black Lab Female – spayed 7 55 Y
Huxley Lab mix Male – neutered 2 40 N
Libby Pit mix Female – spayed 7 50 N
Stella Bouvier Female – spayed 5 65 N
posted by hydrobatidae at 10:54 AM on November 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


To clarify, there's a big difference between training and domestication. You can train a elephant, but they aren't domesticated: which is a process of artificial selection that changes the lineage over time.

If you train an elephant, that elephant's offspring will just be wild elephants. "Feral" dogs, however, come from domesticated dogs. They are genetically different from a wild dog (generally speaking, gray wolves). They still read human body language because it's in their genes.
posted by spaltavian at 10:59 AM on November 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


My Aussie is smaller -- he is 35-40 lb. He is the smartest animal I've ever met, with incredible memory and pattern recognition abilities. He is profoundly bonded to me, though he also has a wider group of favorite humans, including my Bear. When I am home, he is always with me, either in the classic Aussie behind the knee position, sitting beside me as I chop, or watching me from the floor, a bed, or an adjoining chair. He loves to stare into my eyes, especially when I am petting him. He climbs up on my chair and falls asleep on my lap each evening, a sort of pre-sleep bonding nap before he actually heads to the bedroom with me, where he makes sure some part of him touches me throughout the night. If I am home late, my Bear reports he goes to the door and stays there from my usual arrival time until I get home, when there is quite a lot of joyous celebration from him.

I sometimes wonder why we need studies for behaviors that so obviously show attachment as these.

I'd add that I've had more than one cat with similar overt bonded behavior. Never anything quite as unabashed as my dog, natch.
posted by bearwife at 11:02 AM on November 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


Neat article, and this accompanying photo is so heartwarming. Nothing in the world is better than having a dog belly to scritch.

To that end, I totally have a habit of judging people based on which part of a dog they instinctively reach toward to give scritches: If they reach down from a standing position and gingerly pat the top of the dog's head, they're clearly not a dog person, but if they kneel down to get more on the dog's level and either curl up one hand and put it near the dog's nose so the pup can sniff to assess the situation and/or go for a good old fashioned belleh/chest scritch? Yep, s/he is One Of Us.

The dog behavioral quirk I'm most curious about is when my pup (pre-adoption, post-adoption [with biscuit]) does something he seems to perceive as naughty -- 99% of the time, this involves wolfing down the entire bowl of cat food, carrying the now-empty bowl upstairs from the basement to be licked clean in warmer environs, and then vomiting copiously all over one or more carpeted areas because oops, he ate too much -- while I'm at work, as soon as I get home, he immediately runs to meet me, rolls over, and shows me his belly. There's no way for me to know that anything is amiss until I've walked much further into the house, but he always beats me to the punch, catches me right at the door, and makes a big show of acting all endearing and submissive before I even have a chance to walk in and discover the mess.

It might be some kind of manifestation of guilt, but I've chosen to believe that he does it because he's trying to cheer me up by giving me the opportunity to provide a belly rub to a cute little puppy before I have to spend the next half-hour hunting for and cleaning dog barf off the floor.

There are also adorable pictures of all on them in the article.

OMG. TIGGER!!!!
posted by divined by radio at 11:03 AM on November 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


I wonder what would happen with small dogs. Are their brains too small for MRIs? Or are they just too dumb?

I wouldn't discount small dogs. We have two harnesses for our pug Zac, one red and one black. The harnesses are the same size, shape and make.

To keep the red one clean, we started getting into the habit of putting the black one on him before taking him out to the dog park, a few times a week.

After a few weeks, it gets colder and darker, so we don't get to take him to the park as much. But he's one year old and a puppy at heart, still, and he wants to play. Now.

So my husband gets out of the shower one morning when getting ready for work, and our little guy is lying there, waiting in front of the bathroom door, with his black harness plopped next to him.

He's a smart enough dog to not only know when he wants to play, and that there is a ritual to be performed, but he is also able to communicate so.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 11:17 AM on November 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


if you point at something, a dog will generally look towards what you are pointing at. Not even chimpanzees will do this: they'll look at your hand.

Probably trying to decide which finger to bite off first when the shit goes down.
posted by Atom Eyes at 11:19 AM on November 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


To that end, I totally have a habit of judging people based on which part of a dog they instinctively reach toward to give scritches: If they reach down from a standing position and gingerly pat the top of the dog's head, they're clearly not a dog person

I failed this test, didn't I?

Well, although I'm definitely more of a cat person, I miss having dogs because they are happier to come home to. You can't really feel lonely with a dog in the house. Cats are great but they're very transparent about not giving a shit about you.
posted by desjardins at 11:32 AM on November 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


I think I fall squarely between dog and cat person. With dogs, I'll get so enthusiastic as to be practically rolling on the ground playing with them (always somewhat awkward when it isn't my dog, but screw it, I'm happy, dog's happy, world is better.)

On the other hand, the cats get to sleep not only on the bed, but under the blankets right next to me, whereas the dogs are relegated to the end of the bed and a pillow on the floor respectively.

It might help that my cat is a Siamese, which tend to be very dog-like in their overt affection, but any cat gets the same warm-bed-sleepy-rights over the dogs. It's just the way it's always been, and I attribute it to cats being better with mind control.
posted by quin at 11:42 AM on November 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


This poor fucking dog.
posted by empath at 11:56 AM on November 24, 2014 [3 favorites]


I do have to question the understanding of "pointing" as a product of domestication. Pretty sure coyotes and wolves do the pointing pose that the pointer breeds make famous. Maybe not as ritualized. Handy skill for pack hunters. I believe wild and domestic canids will follow a gaze, as well.

Speculation. Prepared to have my lunch handed to me.


Plus my dog's bettern all yours.
posted by Trochanter at 11:59 AM on November 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


I have no idea how these people got their dogs wedged into their cat-scanner, but I know why.
posted by marienbad at 12:16 PM on November 24, 2014 [10 favorites]


I do have to question the understanding of "pointing" as a product of domestication. Pretty sure coyotes and wolves do the pointing pose that the pointer breeds make famous.

It's pointing as in "following a human's pointed finger to see what it's aimed at", not pointing as in the posture.
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 12:20 PM on November 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


To that end, I totally have a habit of judging people based on which part of a dog they instinctively reach toward to give scritches: If they reach down from a standing position and gingerly pat the top of the dog's head, they're clearly not a dog person


I used to kneel down to the dog's height and all that till the day my friend's Huskie nearly bit me. That dog hated eye contact with anyone but my friend and only 'respected' people who would stand tall and take command. I do not kneel down to any dog's level now except the ones that run to me in a friendly manner. My neighbor's small dog jumps all over me and is in heaven when it gets scratched and coddled.
posted by viramamunivar at 12:25 PM on November 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


Absolute brain size appears to have nothing whatsoever to do with functional intelligence, by the prevailing contemporary thought on the subject.

Just came back from a weekend with my mom and her papillon, and I'm not convinced. Certainly there's a inverse correlation between size and annoyance.

Also there's got to be some truth behind the stereotype of sweet little old ladies and their little yappy dogs. My mom's on her second papillon now, and each is more irritating than the last. Back when she was a sweet little middle-aged or younger lady they always had dogs. German shepherds mostly. Great dane once. Thing looked like a deer. They had to keep it inside during hunting season. But all those dogs were great dogs. The moment she crossed the line into little old lady-dom, out come the fucking papillons.
posted by Naberius at 12:25 PM on November 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


>re: pointing-

I'd agree that the instinct to "point" for the benefit of other pack members is present in wolves. The significant part about pointing as a product of domestication is the fact that dogs point to things for a human's benefit, and dogs recognize our pointing and take it as information. Even though chimpanzees and other primates point at things*, they apparently don't give a shit when a human points at something. The significant part isn't the practice of pointing, it's recognizing *our* pointing.

--
*rarely in captivity, and almost never in the wild. source.
posted by DGStieber at 12:30 PM on November 24, 2014


On the other hand, the cats get to sleep not only on the bed, but under the blankets right next to me, whereas the dogs are relegated to the end of the bed and a pillow on the floor respectively.

That's because dogs are stinky and will slobber all over your face, given the opportunity.
posted by desjardins at 12:31 PM on November 24, 2014


On the other hand, the cats get to sleep not only on the bed, but under the blankets right next to me, whereas the dogs are relegated to the end of the bed and a pillow on the floor respectively.

You've had the wrong dogs, then. Get a shorthaired breed and teach them that the covers are warm. My Vizsla has mastered the art of slithering and weaseling his way down the blanket and curling up behind my knees as I sleep.

He's a godsend when camping - keeps my feet super toasty.

God help you if you have both dogs under the covers with you and the temp is greater than 30 degrees - you'll roast to death and die of spontaneous combustion.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 12:34 PM on November 24, 2014 [6 favorites]


This poor fucking dog.

"If I understand this situation correctly, I'm off to die for my human. A heavy burden, but I am equal to the weight."
posted by Iridic at 12:43 PM on November 24, 2014 [33 favorites]


My roommate likes to say that my dog and I are codependent. Now I can tell him we're not, that my dog is just attuned to me. Yay, science! :)
posted by joycehealy at 1:09 PM on November 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


You've had the wrong dogs, then. Get a shorthaired breed and teach them that the covers are warm. My Vizsla has mastered the art of slithering and weaseling his way down the blanket and curling up behind my knees as I sleep.

I can go a step further than that - my 13 pound Chihuahua / rat terrier mix (yes, it's a terrifying, terribly cute, hyper combination) has me trained to where he walks to the top of the bed and stares at me until I lift the covers up so that he can crawl under them, no slithering or weaseling necessary. It is adorable - until it's 4am and I wake up and he's taking up the entire center of the bed. :)
posted by joycehealy at 1:13 PM on November 24, 2014 [3 favorites]


walks to the top of the bed and stares at me until I lift the covers up so that he can crawl under them

Same here.

Also, most of you probably know this, but the band Three Dog Night's name is a reference to this. A cold night on Chesapeake Bay was a "three dog night."
posted by Trochanter at 1:16 PM on November 24, 2014 [5 favorites]


It's pointing as in "following a human's pointed finger to see what it's aimed at", not pointing as in the posture.

Yes, but I was talking about the predisposition to understand the posture, and the posture's indication of direction.
posted by Trochanter at 1:37 PM on November 24, 2014


Yeah, what they mean is that Dogs are the only ones to use eye contact to convey information.

cats convey informaion by eye contact, too - generally, "stupid human, i want something and you have failed to anticipate my wishes"
posted by pyramid termite at 1:56 PM on November 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


I don't question for a second that dogs feel and express love. Anybody who suggests that they have been selected for certain traits and only display some level of loyalty because humans are a source of food, I submit that human partnership is no different. You don't enter into a relationship you're not going to get anything out of.

In conclusion: dogs.
posted by turbid dahlia at 2:06 PM on November 24, 2014 [6 favorites]


Yes, but I was talking about the predisposition to understand the posture, and the posture's indication of direction.

OK, but that's not at all what people are referring to when they say "only dogs understand pointing, as a result of domestication".
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 2:13 PM on November 24, 2014


The picture at the top of that article is hilarious and apt. The Goldens are all like "HEY IT'S PEOPLE!! HI PEOPLE!! HI HI HI HI!!! PEOPLE!! HEY!" and the Border Collies are like, "Fucking seriously? Can we just be done with this already? Better things to do, man."
posted by mudpuppie at 2:24 PM on November 24, 2014 [13 favorites]


This poor fucking dog.

I dunno, my dog would love that. Getting to lie still under a blanket? He would be first in line!
posted by winna at 2:55 PM on November 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


I was all set to come barrelling in here to defend my very bonded cat from suggestions that he is in any way inferior to a dog. Then I recalled that I just spent an hour extricating him from the neighbours courtyard, involving scaling a 7 foot brick wall, twice, getting covered in scratches and filth, and a lot swearing. During all of which said cat continued to prance around, mewing pitifully while pretending not to understand what either his name being called or an open tin of tuna being waved at him meant.

Cat is now back at the back door, meowing, and looking at me like he's demanding to know why his outdoor privileges have been revoked. So yeah, he's either really dumb or an asshole and either way, fuck him.

ps. Please don't tell my neighbours.
posted by arha at 3:30 PM on November 24, 2014 [1 favorite]


I have misunderstood something. Cats and dogs, both, have spent centuries teaching humans to feed, groom, and doctor them, and rear their young.

Please define "domesticate."
posted by mule98J at 3:44 PM on November 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


It might be some kind of manifestation of guilt, but I've chosen to believe that he does it because he's trying to cheer me up by giving me the opportunity to provide a belly rub to a cute little puppy before I have to spend the next half-hour hunting for and cleaning dog barf off the floor.

It is generally believed that dogs don't feel guilt. What we think of as a "guilty" look is actually the dog anticipating being scolded, whether or not they've done anything wrong, because they've been conditioned in some way to expect it. Dogs are very perceptive and pick up signals from us in ways that we don't even imagine. They're like little sponges. Everything we do is teaching them something and even those of us who are well aware of this (I think) sometimes don't realize in what ways we're conditioning our dogs.
posted by triggerfinger at 4:24 PM on November 24, 2014


Well, although I'm definitely more of a cat person, I miss having dogs because they are happier to come home to. You can't really feel lonely with a dog in the house. Cats are great but they're very transparent about not giving a shit about you.

One of our cats is the self-appointed greeter of the household. When we come home, she'll come running from wherever she is to say hello. Usually she's been sleeping (because cat) so she often winds up stretching languidly on the carpet and enticing us to pet her.

It seems to work for all parties…

I'm a lifelong cat person (my parents had five Siamese when I was born), but even so I have to give dogs credit for perceiving and responding to human emotion and behavior. In my early twenties I had a roommate with a black lab. Jade and I got along fine, but I wasn't His Person. One night I was home alone with Jade and my cat, feeling miserable because I'd just gotten dumped by the guy I'd been seeing. I was lying on my bed, crying, when Jade hopped up on the bed and curled up next to me. He'd never jumped up on my bed before and he never did it again, but he knew that the human needed comfort and he provided it.

Dogs are great.
posted by Lexica at 6:42 PM on November 24, 2014 [8 favorites]


It's always funny to read that dogs are incapable of guilt. I feel like the so called experts have never come home to a dog that is acting "guilty". I'm open to explanations that the dog is trying to mitigate a bad situation that it is aware of,but you aren't...but that sounds lot like guilt.
posted by hahn_rossman at 7:01 PM on November 24, 2014 [2 favorites]


ubiquity: Dogs are also the only non-primate animal to look people in the eyes.

Can this be true? It seems I have had eye-to-eye interactions with many cats, as well as a few horses, cows, birds and rodents. Maybe even a cetacean or two. Am I imagining this?
As usual, "science reporting" is largely horseshit typed out by wannabe-smart-people extrapolating what they think they heard from those magical, all-knowing scientists.

Non-primate animals that will look people in the eyes: cats, fish, insects, birds, cows, horses, monkeys, apes, dolphins, sea lions, all members of arachnidaeae that have sight, horseshoe crabs...

...but not wolves. Wolves are social animals that convey rank through gaze, so the only wolves that will look a human in the eyes are ones that are preparing to strike them down for their impudence.
posted by IAmBroom at 10:14 AM on November 25, 2014


Oh, and by the way, dogs don't look people in the eye. However, they are fond of looking up your nose, and seem to find it funny. Notice how they wag their tails?
posted by mule98J at 5:50 PM on November 25, 2014


arachnidaeae = Arachnida.

I blame the Ferguson news. It upset me.
posted by IAmBroom at 8:14 PM on November 25, 2014


I saw that article too. On the blue I think(though damned if I can find it now). I believe that article went further and even indicated that not only does the dog recognize you pointing, but they get that you are indicating to them something "OVER THERE" instead of just, "hooman did a thing, so ill do this other thing". So they actually understand that you pointed for a reason and they get the cause/effect of that point. So wish I could find that now.

You want the excellent work done by Vanessa Woods and Brian Hare at Dognition.
posted by Alice Russel-Wallace at 11:26 PM on November 25, 2014


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