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Picture-Sorting Dogs Show Human-Like Thought 175

ComputerDog writes "A new study shows they can sort photographs into categories in a similar way to humans. In experiments, dogs were shown photographs of a landscape and of a dog, and were rewarded if they selected the latter using 'a paw-operated computer touch-screen'. Later they were able to correctly categorize dogs shown on an unfamiliar background landscape. '' "
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Picture-Sorting Dogs Show Human-Like Thought

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  • Or rather ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Aetuneo ( 1130295 ) on Sunday December 09, 2007 @03:11PM (#21632885) Homepage
    Picture-sorting Humans show Dog-like thought. Who are we to claim that dogs behave like humans? Humans behaving like dogs makes just as much sense.
    • Well, kinda (Score:4, Funny)

      by gerf ( 532474 ) <edtgerf@gmail.com> on Sunday December 09, 2007 @03:47PM (#21633219) Journal

      Previously it was thought that dogs could only catagorize other dogs or people by the tried and true butt sniffing technique. This experiment shows that dogs, possibly due to their proximity to human DNA, have evolved more advanced ways to perceive others.

      It's hotly debated whether mosquitos have transferred blood and DNA from humans to dogs to give them this power, as there are many other methods of transmission. Needless to say, the Bird Flu has helped that process greatly among many other species, but it has yet to be shown that is has factored into the human-dog element.

      As for the dog to human question you posed... Have you seen furries?

    • I wonder if rooms full of dogs could be trained to recognize stupidity? Maybe they could be trained to edit YouTube and Slashdot comments?

      (Could you imagine a Beowoof cluster...?)
  • So... (Score:2, Insightful)

    ... the dogs are learning provide whatever results the higher-ups want them to provide, and are rewarded or punished accordingly?

    Sounds like doing science for the U.S. government.

    • Re:So... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Z00L00K ( 682162 ) on Sunday December 09, 2007 @04:23PM (#21633501) Homepage
      Reminds me of a dog my friend had once - she was growing up with a cat as a companion and that resulted in a dog that sometimes behaved as a cat - sitting in the window still, sleeping at the top of the backrest of the sofa, even found in the bookcase.

      Mind that this was a Border Collie [wikipedia.org]. Even if she was small for her kind it caused some consternation among his friends seeing the dog in unfamiliar dog locations.

      • My dog growing up (a miniature collie) was raised by a cat who had lost her kittens (to the CO gas chamber). She used a litter box, or buried her business when relieving herself outside. She wouldn't go in lawns (too hard to dig), but looked for leaf or sand covered areas.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )
        I had a cat whose mother disappeared right after she was born. So the dog raised the kitten. It was a very interesting cat. She taught herself to hunt... used to sit in trees and wait for birds. If the tree wasn't yielding any kills she'd jump like a squirrel from tree to tree.
  • by Viol8 ( 599362 ) on Sunday December 09, 2007 @03:15PM (#21632915) Homepage
    Any animal that couldn't tell the difference between another animal and a rock or between different types of animals would soon become some carnivores dinner or fall off a cliff. Why would anyone (least of all supposedly intelligent researchers) find this ability to differentiate objects surprising? I'd imagine you'd probably have to go much further down the evolutionary tree to find an animal that couldn't do this.
    • Reproduce? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by TheMeuge ( 645043 ) on Sunday December 09, 2007 @03:27PM (#21633039)
      Even better, any animal that can't distinguish between members of its own species and rocks, would probably have a hard time passing such stupidity on to the next generation, no?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by eonlabs ( 921625 )
      Along the same line of thought, have you noticed that after years of believing we're superior to all animals, we still can teach a dog to respond to english, but have little to no idea what they mean when they bark a certain way? Why not see if we could build a system that lets dogs teach what they're trying to say.
      • by king-manic ( 409855 ) on Sunday December 09, 2007 @04:00PM (#21633327)

        Along the same line of thought, have you noticed that after years of believing we're superior to all animals, we still can teach a dog to respond to english, but have little to no idea what they mean when they bark a certain way? Why not see if we could build a system that lets dogs teach what they're trying to say.
        Whimper -> sad about something
        door scratch -> wants out to pee or poop
        Tail wag -> contentment
        angry barking -> fight or flight mechanism has gone towards the former
        Excited barking -> Smells owner, food, mate, friend, or stranger
        Romeo's balcony soliloquies with Juliet's -> You've done too much LSD, go lie down

        It all varies depending on the temperament but if you've owned a dog it's fairly obvious what they're meaning. However it's likely ham fisted autistic wolf language. Like having a child raised without anyone to teach it to speak. Parentless Child or Dog develop it's own system of communication.
      • Along the same line of thought, have you noticed that after years of believing we're superior to all animals, we still can teach a dog to respond to english, but have little to no idea what they mean when they bark a certain way?
        I know the difference between my dog's "somebody I don't know is in the yard", "Mommy is home!", and her "I have to pee!" barks.
        • by Reziac ( 43301 ) *
          [old-time professional dog trainer hat]

          It's a lot like how a parent can interpret a toddler's yammerings. They aren't exactly words, but they have meaning and context; you just have to learn to recognise them (and sort that out from mere mumbling to oneself, which some dogs do too).

          Just like toddlers, dogs can become frustrated when the Stupid Human can't figure out what they're "saying". A very few dogs will attempt to deliberately mimic human speech, apparently thinking that this will make them more intel
      • Try with cats (Score:3, Informative)

        by Moraelin ( 679338 )
        Try with cats. They can eventually teach you to respond to a word or two in their language ;)
      • by plover ( 150551 ) *
        You mean like the BowLingual [wikipedia.org]?

        It was really a toy implementation that tried to interpret dog barks as being one of six emotions: happy, sad, frustrated, on-guard, assertive and needy. And most dog owners can already identify them from the barks of their own dogs. For example, I can tell when my dogs think there's someone at the door, or if they want to play, or if they're mad at each other. (They also sometimes greet me at the door by howling "Hello!" when I get home, but I had to teach them that.)


    • by brusk ( 135896 ) on Sunday December 09, 2007 @04:15PM (#21633439)
      Partly, it's not differentiating OBJECTS, it's differentiating PICTURES of objects. That is actually a somewhat different skill.
      • It would be interesting to see what would happen in a test that used symbolised/iconic images or different style of drawings or cartoons, rather than photos. I think it would work (if you got the right style), since it's somethings that often appears in nature (eyes on the wings of a moth) and probably relates to how their brains recognise things to begin with.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Antho ( 982028 )
      Well animals rely on much more than physical static shape to distinguish things like other animals vs rocks. There are a whole array of senses to rely on and real visual cues like style of movement, speed, etc. that have to be taken into account. I think this actually interesting indicating that dogs can genuinely tell the difference between a static image of a landscape and a dog showing that based on just shape they can really tell the difference.
    • My Cat. (Score:3, Funny)

      I have a neutered male cat named "BeBe". That's because he has a bb in his behind, put there by an obviously non-animal lover, who was handy with a Red Rider BB Gun.
      Now, on the the intelligent part...
      He is constantly on the lookout for "enemy cats" that want to move in on his territory. So, he has no problem with that normal cat function.
      Food gathering...
      Open the Refrigerator, or try and make something to eat, and he suddenly appears, telling you that he is a good cat, and deserves some of whatever you are
    • by jbengt ( 874751 )
      TFA isn't about dogs recognizing dogs, it's about dogs recognizing pictures.

      I have three dogs (and a cat) in my house, sometimes more, as my wife is a dog trainer who sometimes boards the dogs she trains. One of our dogs recognizes pictures of dogs on TV and reacts to them, but the other dogs almost never notice, except perhaps to cock their ears at the sound of barking.
      So the result of the experiments is not as obvious as many posters are making it out to be.
  • by module0000 ( 882745 ) on Sunday December 09, 2007 @03:16PM (#21632917)
    Seeing eye dogs are more intelligent than the editor of this article.
  • by explosivejared ( 1186049 ) <hagan,jared&gmail,com> on Sunday December 09, 2007 @03:16PM (#21632927)
    All I can say is finally! We are starting to break through the chains. We are a smart respectable species, one worthy of inclusion among the most intelligent of all. Now I know we have things to be ashamed of, like the toilet drinking, the vendettas against postal workers, the fetch syndrome, but we are working to improve ourselves. If we could just get a little help a long the way, we could make things so much better. This article is proof positive that we dogs are honorable. So please pay us respect as we pay you respect.

    P.S. Thanks to all those who bow to their new photograph sorting, canine overlords, but it's really not necessary. We are a humble species and have no designs on taking over earth. Unless... a mailman should ever come into power, then of course we would have no recourse but violence. Until then, thank you but no thank you.
  • Dogs can identify other dogs as dogs?!? OMG! What a mind-blowing revelation! OTOH, if you could get CATS to do that, I'd be impressed.
    • Re:What?!? (Score:4, Funny)

      by Groggnrath ( 1089073 ) <lukasdoyle431@msn.com> on Sunday December 09, 2007 @03:31PM (#21633077)
      OTOH, if you could get CATS to do that, I'd be impressed.

        OTOH if you could make a cat do anything, I'd be impressed.
      • Ever been in a Circus where they have lions (with their tamer)?
        • by pjt33 ( 739471 )
          If you don't think that's impressive, why don't you jump in the ring and try it?
        • by rts008 ( 812749 )
          Yeah, ask Seigried how that worked out.
      • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )
        The true mark of intelligence.
    • Dogs can identify other dogs as dogs?!? OMG! What a mind-blowing revelation!

      A dog can find a dog in a two-dimensional landscape photograph.

      In an experiment far removed from the ordinary way in which he experiences his world - and do it with no other sensory or behavioral cues.

      That does not strike me as an insignificant achievement.

      It would be interesting to know if a dog could recognize a painting of a dog, a sculpture, a cartoon or caricature.

      Even more interesting, perhaps, if he could sort the result

      • This is purely anecdotal, but my dogs (both of them), respond to dogs on TV (in a sense, the test they portrayed here), sometimes ramming against the TV paws first and barking at it, other times just staring intently. They also clearly identify at least some cartoon dogs (e.g, Scooby Doo), reacting in much the same way as with real dogs.

        They also tend to react to other non-human animals on TV, with reactions varying dramatically with the species (they seem to have a fascination with bulls), and definitely

      • by Reziac ( 43301 ) *
        I've had dogs that recognised other breeds. Example: I took an 8 year old Lab [earthlink.net] to a weekend at the all-breed dog show. This was the first time in his life that he had EVER been around any other breed of dogs (except for my neighbour's Goldens), or even out in public at all. Over the course of the day he picked out five different breeds and did this "daddy, I want one!" act every time an individual of that breed walked by, while ignoring all other dogs (of the couple hundred individuals of 40+ breeds in immed
  • by Skapare ( 16644 ) on Sunday December 09, 2007 @03:18PM (#21632941) Homepage

    Now can the dogs determine the gender of the other dog ... without having to resort to sniffing the other dog's butt?

    • by Maxmin ( 921568 )
      I... see where you're going with this... a pet that will surf the web for porn and sort the erotica into folders for you. Well, here's what you're going to end up with:

      If you ask me, it's a race of time, between the animal behavioralists and Google.
    • by Reziac ( 43301 ) *
      You may have meant that to be funny, but the answer is -- yes, they can. Watch a bitch in heat unerringly pick the sole male out of a pack; she knows what she wants, even if he's ignoring her!

      And some of 'em know which "parts" do the job, too... I had one bitch who'd get impatient if the male didn't "do her" RIGHT NOW, and if he took too long about it, she would grab him by the penis and drag him around!!

  • if you punish them with tasers, right? That's how we treat humans anyway. It would be kinda nice if people were rewarded for being good instead. But punishment is a turn-on for authority figures. And it's cheaper. It's that power! Oh yeah!
  • Obvious. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SatanicPuppy ( 611928 ) * <.Satanicpuppy. .at. .gmail.com.> on Sunday December 09, 2007 @03:24PM (#21632999) Journal
    Of course they do. I'd go so far to say that most predators should show similar tendencies. We use our sight for a lot of things that the average mutt wouldn't use it's sight for, but at the most basic level, it has the exact same function for both of us. Predator/Prey identification, basic navigation, threat recognition and response.

    The examples in the article are all "A dog can tell the difference between a landscape and a dog, even if the dog is on a landscape" which just shows that, like us, their eyes are drawn to the animal before the scenery. Classic response for an animal concerned with predator/prey responses. The mountains are nice, but you have to make sure of the animal first.

    The main differences in visual perception would be dealing with stuff like ranging, depth perception, night-vision, day-vision, etc...All stuff to do with the actual hardware of the eye, not in the basic ability to distinguish between two similar objects.

    This should be obvious from a dog's ability to tell one person from another. I've witnessed similar behavior in herbivores as well, so I'd not be surprised to find that they had the same sort of abilities, though it would be difficult to test.
    • by TheMCP ( 121589 )
      A dog's ability to tell one person from another might be largely scent related and says little about how their visual sense works.

      That said, I agree with you that this is obvious; it should be obvious to anyone who has ever owned a smart dog, like a border collie or maybe a german shepherd. I used to have a border collie, and his responses to most things were so incredibly human-like that it was very, very clear that he thought like a human in many ways. (Indeed, I think he thought he was human in many ways
      • by Reziac ( 43301 ) *
        Considering that dogs can recognise individuals (and vehicles, and other dogs) at distances of up to half a mile or so, without any time for scent to cover the distance, vision has a great deal more to do with it than scent.

        In my experience, dogs identify stuff first and foremost by vision, and only use scent as a "backup" -- to confirm what they already thought, or to see where you've been (they're just like kids going "Daddy, where did you go today? ...Hey!! Why did you go to the duck pond without me??")

    • The main differences in visual perception would be dealing with stuff like ranging, depth perception, night-vision, day-vision, etc

      I think that sense-of-scale issue is definitely a weak spot for a lot of dogs. It's one of the reasons that very large dogs can sometimes react to very small dogs at an intermediate distance as they would to a very large dog at a greater distance. And anyone who's ever dealt with a terrier knows that they not only have no idea how small they are themselves, they have no appre
      • by Reziac ( 43301 ) *
        [pro dog trainer hat]

        All dogs believe they're about 60 pounds, and behave accordingly. This make sense when you realise that at root they're just funny-looking wolves; size differences are merely cosmetic, and don't do much to alter their fundamental nature.

        I do think the juvenile paranoia that's common in toy dogs is the result of a disconnect caused by their small size -- they're born believing the world should be proportioned differently than it is, and it takes them some time to "get used to" how overwh
    • by Jay L ( 74152 )
      Of course they do. I'd go so far to say that most predators should show similar tendencies

      Yes, completely obvious! Evolution has spent millions of years rewarding animals who are able to identify photographs of other animals - and specifically non-life-sized photographs of their predators. After all, if a gazelle couldn't distinguish a 6x9" photo of a mouse from a 6x9" photo of... um... a gazelleeater, she'd be constantly fleeing harmless Polaroids (the native habitat of the gazelle, which is, um, Gazelle
  • Birds (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Sunday December 09, 2007 @03:27PM (#21633031) Journal
    I saw a show on a Discovery-like channel in which during WW2 they successfully trained birds to recognize different makes of vessels and peck a steering panel in the right direction. They were trying to build a guided bomb. I don't remember why they canceled the program, but it was not due to the bird's skills.

    Birds rely heavily on their eyesight to find or distinguish food and prey. Thus, they may be as good or better than dogs, who use mostly hearing and smell. Plus, dogs are partly color blind.
    • The project to which you are referring was the work of Skinner, and called Project Pigeon. It was canceled.

      On the other hand, virtually the same experiment as the one conducted with dogs was conducted with pigeons, in 1964, by Herrnstein and Loveland. So, someone beat you to it. =)
    • For those who like trivia, this project was honored in the form of the 'Homing Pigeon' weapon in the game 'Worms'. ;P
  • .. Cats refused to take the tests.
  • by acvh ( 120205 ) <geek.mscigars@com> on Sunday December 09, 2007 @03:29PM (#21633053) Homepage
    ...can't tell the difference between a dog and your leg.
    • by explosivejared ( 1186049 ) <hagan,jared&gmail,com> on Sunday December 09, 2007 @03:38PM (#21633139)
      I apologize for that behavior hiccup. It's just hard sometimes to control ourselves. Blame evolution not us. Your leg probably just looks "appetizing." I would suggest wearing wiskers on your pants leg or painting a picture of a rolled up newspaper on your pants leg. Either of those should alleviate the problem. Alternatively, you could try being the bigger person and speak to your dog, but I understand the deserved apprehension you might have about this.

      I hope this has helped. BTW, I'm working on a gpl'ed evolutionary firmware update that moves the urge in question from the leg to the shoe, as this is less disturbing. I've tried to get rid of the trait altogether, but it's tough. A lot of the code is proprietary, and well God just doesn't like to give the darn stuff up. We're working on it though. Link to our project www.opensourceevolutionarydogimprovement.org.
  • Google Images engineers were swarming Silicon Valley pet stores today, buying every puppy they could find.
  • by smchris ( 464899 ) on Sunday December 09, 2007 @03:40PM (#21633163)

    We need more semiotics taught in the schools.

    The animals weren't responding to other dogs and landscapes. They were responding to _photographs_ of dogs and landscapes. And dealing with them accordingly.

    Do not confuse the finger with the moon, Grasshopper.
    • Dogs commonly respond to other dogs on TV. Any dog owner will have seen it.

      It's just not news, and didn't need any 'research' to discover it.

      Whether they can tell the difference between a photograph and the real thing is another question. I'm betting they're just hardwired to recognize 'dog shape'.
      • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 )
        With the sound off? And no movement?
      • by Reziac ( 43301 ) *
        "Dog shape" is a fairly nebulous thing, given that dogs come in the widest array of physical types of any species on earth. Four legs and a head is the only common factor. Hair and tails are not universal. Size can be anything from 7 to 36 inches at the shoulder, with a similar range of mass, from 2 to 200 pounds. Proportions can range from a 1:1 length/height ratio, to as much as 3:1. At first contact, aliens would probably class dogs as several dozen different species. Despite all this, dogs do pretty wel
  • Maybe we can get dogs to scan the surveillance images from the 2008 Olympics. Surely it would be cheaper than IBM's Smart Surveillance System [slashdot.org]. Heck, I know a dog that will work 20 minutes just to lick the crumbs off someone's face.
  • by Bones3D_mac ( 324952 ) on Sunday December 09, 2007 @03:50PM (#21633255)
    Up until very recently, I always thought of dogs as generally being playful but incredibly stupid animals outside of spirit-breaking intensive training... at least, until we just got our recent dog, a pit bull/boxer mix. Unlike most dogs I've owned over the years, this one isthe first I known to preemptively develop strategies on the fly under ever-changing conditions. (In other words, she doesn't do the whole "repeat the same process over and over expecting a different result each time" thing.)

    For example, take a piece of food being dropped on the floor just out of her reach behind a barrier. Most dogs would simply shove their snout under the barrier and root at it with their tongue for hours. With this dog though, she only did the snout rooting thing once, stopped, reached under the barrier with her paws trying to grip the food, stopped and finally removed the barrier itself to get at the food.

    In my previous experience, only a cat would have ever made it to step 2.

    Needless to say, the dog is now quite an escape artist, having deciphered how to use doors, removing collars like houdini and bypassing six foot tall chain-link fences.
    • by Scamwise ( 174654 ) on Sunday December 09, 2007 @04:03PM (#21633345)
      We had a dog capable of opening all sorts of doors, he could even open the back door against the swing, ie: turn the handle and pull the door towards himself.
      He also used to get agitated if you wore a hat because he couldn't recognise you if you did, he would even bark at my uncle if he was wearing a hat and stop immediately if he removed it.
      Having been a building site dog he developed a strange habit of barking when you called "FIRING!" which they used to do before anyone used a nail gun, he would as a result bark on demand any time any place, quite an amusing party trick.
      He also used to have what can only be described as a guilty look that he would give you when he had done something wrong, sometimes he would even give the look before doing something wrong and then go and do it!
      All in all I think we are not giving dogs nearly enough credit on the smarts front.
      • A friend of mine has a dog that can open the fridge, find the meat on the top shelf, grab it and eat it - without making enough noise to alert her of the impending loss of lunch.

        Dogs are smart.
        • A friend of mine has a dog that can open the fridge, find the meat on the top shelf, grab it and eat it - without making enough noise to alert her of the impending loss of lunch.

          Dogs are smart.

          No kidding. They've managed to get themselves shacked up in houses with infinite food supplies, and as often as they get in trouble for taking more than their share, providing they do it in a funny or amazing way, they actually gets praised.

          Who is that once said if aliens came to Earth they'd assume that dogs ran the

        • by ajs318 ( 655362 )
          Same thing happened to a friend of mine. Dog opened fridge, scoffed a lamb casserôle that was waiting to be reheated for dinner that evening, and then closed the fridge. She'd have got away with it if she'd been able to put the dish back on the shelf.
      • Wow, I completely forgot about it until you mentioned it just now, but I can absolutely confirm the hat thing with our dog as well. A relative of mine entered our house one time wearing a large cowboy style hat and the dog's demeanor instantly changed. Luckily, the demeaner was defensive, rather than offensive, but I sure wouldn't have wanted to see them trying to approach the dog next to a wall. Without the hat though, the attitude of the dog went back to completely normal.

        Similarly, she also does the "try
    • by plover ( 150551 ) * on Sunday December 09, 2007 @04:54PM (#21633871) Homepage Journal
      My friend's dog outsmarted his mother. She was making a sandwich in the kitchen, and the dog wanted the sandwich in the worst way. He finally ran to the out-of-sight front door, barking like there was someone approaching. When she went to investigate, the dog circled back into the kitchen from the other way and stole the sandwich from the countertop.

      So there's a dog who demonstrated an understanding of strategy, tactics, and deception. He lured her away from the food under false pretenses. He knew the back route into the kitchen was unguarded. Most importantly, he put a multi-step plan together in his little canine brain before executing it.

      Humans don't have a monopoly on thought. We just have all the components of intelligence wrapped up in a meat package that can orchestrate them. If that dog had had opposable thumbs, there's no telling where it would have stopped!

      • I think you are inferring too much from the dog's behavior. Another possible explanation is that the dog was distracted from the sandwich by a noise at the front door, and then returned to the kitchen to continue begging for the sandwich, only to find it was unguarded -- a happy coincidence from his point of view. Your story doesn't prove the dog predicted the woman's behavior at all.
        • by plover ( 150551 ) *
          Sure, your explanation is plausible, but not nearly as entertaining. :-) But I still claim that dog was clever. It knew how to open refrigerator doors with his nose, and after my friend installed a hook-and-eye latch on their refrigerator door, the dog learned how to unhook the latch with his nose, and then open the door.

          And dogs can learn how to "predict" future events. I had a dog that learned to predict trajectories.

          I used to throw a soft playground ball onto our sloped garage roof, and let it rol

          • by Reziac ( 43301 ) *
            Dogs are pretty good at triangulating stuff. When I train working retrievers, one of the things I do is walk along with the dog wandering where he will, then every so often I throw the training dummy in some random direction, for the dog to retrieve. Almost 100% of the time, the dog will get the angle right even tho the dummy is still in the air when the dog goes for where it will land.

            Experienced gundogs can also read river currents well enough to figure out how far down the bank they need to run to interc
      • My brother and mom have sibling dogs, and they do that sort of stuff all the time. Let's call them Jack and Jill. Jack has a chewtoy and Jill wants it so she runs over to the window, starts barking wildly, Jack runs over to see what she's barking at, and she doubles around and grabs the chewtoy. They hide things from one another. One will look to see if the other one's watching and then try to stash something, and the other will fake "not looking" and then as soon as the one takes off the other will tur
    • by jbengt ( 874751 )
      One of my dogs can open the door to her crate (if it's unlocked), get in and close it behind her, which she often does to get away if another dog is annoying her. The only training she got for that is that I showed her how to do it. Another can close a door behind him if told after he noses it open to get through, however, he is not good at opening it against the swing, which my cat naturally does by pawing it towrds him.

      Even difficult dogs don't need spirit-breaking intensive training. Though, in my opin
    • In my previous experience, only a cat would have ever made it to step 2.

      I used to have quite a smart cat with a vocabulary of at least 50 words (at least as far as I could tell). He was an alley cat before we adopted him, and he'd learned a large number of cool skills, including feeding himself from tins, opening doors, and was quite adept at picking up stuff after seeing it once.

      Once I opened the sliding window in the dining room, and he was watching. He liked the cool breeze, so whenever he wanted it, he'
  • ...welcome our new picture-sorting, human-like thought showing canine overlords.

    To hell with iPhoto etc., these doggies help us to rid ourselves of one massive problem: those countless digital photographs we never have time to browse through! We might finally get some printed on paper!
  • Flash! New barking to English translator heralds new era in call center outsourcing!
  • Here kitty kitty - wanna play a game? No? You want to snooze? OK. So do I, but we have this experiment to do, and oh. I see you're not interested in my experiment. Am I that boring you're just going to sit there and lick your butt? don't you understand THIS IS SCIENCE??? PAY ATTENTION! Oh. FINE! Be that way! Wander off to the kitchen - see if I CARE!!! Oh, and now you want some food. OK. Fine, you furry pest. Here. Eat. but after this, you have to do the experiment, OK??? Fine you're done? OK - hey come bac
  • What appears to have been missed in all the comments here is that this wasn't just dogs recognizing other dogs. Dogs, as a whole, use far more of their senses than we do to gather information about themselves and other individuals. The dogs in question were being shown flat, 2D images of dogs. We have all probably seen dogs react to movement or sound on television, as if they understood the image they were seeing minus the smells of the thing. This was a static image, no sound, and no smell. How it is
  • Wow. A study proving that dogs can discriminate between things and make decisions.
    No doubt owners of sheep-herding dogs everywhere will be greatly relieved.

    Good thing for all these science-fair-level studies that most of the important problems are already solved.
  • It's well known outside the scientific community that all men are dogs, and all women are bitches, so the similarities are to be expected.

    Yet another example of taxpayer money wasted on rediscovering the obvious.
  • My mother has a maltese terrier/poodle cross that she's had for years, and is utterly obsessive about...I've always said that the main reason why she loves it so much is because it is able to relate to her intellectually.

    The single main reason why I've always hated canines myself isn't because of a lack of intelligence...on that score, they're fine. Said intelligence however is hamstrung by a tendency towards chronic emotional codependency. People call that loyalty, when in reality in most cases it's just
  • "We are starting to see that dogs have some good reasoning abilities," says Range."

    Little surprise to anyone who has trained dogs, specially retrievers. They have very good sight recall and of course even better smell recall/use. Retriever hunt tests [akc.org] test a dog's sight memory. With no training, many dogs will reason their way to a fallen bird by going around areas of tall grass, brush, etc. Silly humans, though, then train and grade them on their ability to blindly push their way through these things i

Happiness is twin floppies.