Brenda Matthews here, and I know my Meka (Me-Me), my Aussie Shepherd, knows me well. Sometimes, too well. This speckled, spotted blue eyed/brown eyed girl knows things about me that my husband doesn’t! She comforts me when I’m down or sick, and gets crazy excited when there’s an exciting game on TV, but, I must admit, it helps when Kenny and I are shouting and doing chest bumps!
Now, according to the UK’s Daily Mail, there’s ‘proof’ that they truly do understand us. At least on some levels. According to the web site, scientists ‘claim that dogs might be able to see things from a human perspective, and make their decisions accordingly.”
Lead researcher Dr Juliane Kaminski, of the University of Portsmouth’s department of psychology, said: ‘That’s incredible because it implies dogs understand the human can’t see them, meaning they might understand the human perspective.’
‘Clearly the dogs take the social situation into account before they take any action.’
‘Whether or not the human can see the food influences their decision. But whether or not the human is visible in the room didn’t affect their behaviour.’
‘It suggests the dogs are looking at the food from the human perspective, as well as their own, before acting.’
Previous research found that dogs steal significantly more food when a person’s eyes are closed.
The researchers carried out several experiments in different light conditions involving 42 male and 42 female domestic dogs of various breeds. All were more than one year old.
In each test, someone told the dog it couldn’t take the food. But when the room was dark, the dogs were more than twice as likely to steal the food and acted much more quickly, even when the person remained in the room.
The researchers ruled out the possibility that dogs were simply basing their decisions on associative rules, such as dark means food.
Dr Kaminski added: ‘Humans constantly attribute certain qualities and emotions to other living things.
‘We know that our own dog is clever or sensitive, but that’s us thinking, not them.
‘Excitingly, these results suggest humans might be right, where dogs are concerned.
‘But we still can’t be completely sure if the results mean dogs have a truly flexible understanding of the mind and others’ minds.
‘It has always been assumed only humans had this ability.’
A tip for you and your family? Obviously, they’re sneaky, those canines! Keep food up and out of reach – especially when you go to bed!