After watching yet another pet trick on YouTube, you might think the dog population is divided into dumb dogs (yours) and smart dogs (theirs); but according to Brian Hare, associate anthropology professor and founder of the Canine Cognition Center at Duke University, you’d be wrong. Hare believes all dogs are geniuses in their own way.
“People can often underestimate the intelligence of their best friend,” Hare told Scientific American earlier this year. He says it’s all about figuring out what your dog does well, because “different dogs use different strategies to solve problems.”
One impressive canine skill is the ability to follow human gestures. For example, if you point in the direction of a toy, your dog can follow your point.
But perhaps a dog’s most intelligent feature is its capacity for cross-species bonding and empathy. Like most humans, dogs who have bonded well with their owners will find that owner’s yawn just as contagious as humans will.
Studies also have shown that, like their owners (the “petters”), dogs (the “pettees”) experience a boost in a “love” hormone during petting – an experience obviously enjoyed by both petters and pettees.