How your dog thinks

It is said that a dog is a man's best friend Recent research therefore tends to focus on how dogs think and what they perceive during specific moments. The diversity of their thinking is based on the fact that dogs have gradually become involved in searching for criminals, making blind people's everyday life easier or carrying out specific tasks. But how do they perceive the world around them and think about it?

Going back almost 20 years, an American Ph.D. student, Alexandra Horowitz, came up with a proposal to research the dog mind. First, she had to defend her intentions because back then it was not a very appealing and interesting topic. Today, Horowitz is a recognised researcher at a New York University. She specialises in recognising and researching our four-legged friends' mentality. She especially focuses on how dogs think, how they learn or how they solve problems. 

For a long time, dogs have been evolving alongside humans, they have been our best friends since ancient times and that could be the reason for them being so perceptive and responsive to human commands. The way their mind works is, however, much more complicated and we are still not exactly sure about it. 

Journey into the depth of a dog's soul
Let us have a look at specific signs and conclusions of some long-term research. If, for example, you look at your dog companion and see a guilty expression, it does not mean that the dog knows what he has done wrong, but he is aware that punishment will follow. Scientific research revealed that guilt is such a complex emotion that they cannot distinguish it from fear.

Recent research has also shown that dogs lick their mouth when they are stressed. It is a different type of licking than when getting a treat. Mouth-licking and looking aside means that they are stressed and do not feel well because they are expecting some sort of threat. At this point, all you have to do is reassure your furry friend that everything is fine and relieve him from the unpleasant strain. 

The study does not only focus on what dogs do. It examines areas that need to be researched in order to understand why and how dogs think and what goes on inside their mind.

In his latest study, published this July, Brian Hare from the Duke Canine Cognition Center in North Caroline focuses on the source of dogs natural ability to co-operate with people when compared to wolf cubs. His team revealed that from a young age, puppies are better at reading human gestures and are generally more drawn to us. The conclusion of his study is based on the fact that because dogs have been domesticated for hundreds of years, their ability to co-operate with us humans is biological. He thinks that theoretically, dogs could be bred to a certain style of thinking. The team found out that even at such a young age, pups were more drawn towards humans, read human gestures more skilfully and made eye contact more than wolf cubs.

The research of dog perception and thinking is currently a relatively recognised field. We have been coming across general animal research since the beginning of the 20th century but not until 20 years ago has it started focusing on their mind, which we still do not know everything about.

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