Your Dog a Mind Reader?
My family has a "crew" of adopted chihuahuas, rescues from the misery of dog prisons aka "the
One, Sinja, has been with me for appx. 12 years. We spend close to 24/7 together. She relaxes on a window seat
and watches me while I work,accompanies us on every excursion and watches ball games and movies with us on
We walk and jaunt and hang out like any 2 best friends .. and indeeed we are.
Our thoughts are seemingly in sync and we have developed away of communicating that we call "talking sinja". If she
wants to go out, eat, drink, play, get up on a chair that is too high, get in the car... we have our ways to "talk"
A paw pat to my foot, one bark, 2 barks, a lick to the hand or face.
I understand what she is telling me, and she seems to have an almost eerie way of knowing what is coming next...
like she can read my mind...or can she:)
Seem far fetched ?
Well according to a recent article in Science Daily, dogs may have an almost instinctual ability to read
our minds... giving them an ability to interact with us more effectively.. and this is in fact the basis of many
non linguistic communications..
So we thought a few excerpts might be interesting
"Study Explores How Dogs Think and Learn About Human Behavior
ScienceDaily (June 9, 2011) -- Dog owners often attest to their canine companion's seeming ability to read their
minds. How do dogs they learn to beg for food or behave badly primarily when we're not looking? According to
Monique Udell and her team, from the University of Florida..., the way that dogs come to respond
to the level of people's attentiveness tells us something about the ways dogs think and learn about human behavior.
Their research, .....suggests it is down to a combination of specific cues, context and previous experience.
Recent work has identified a remarkable range of human-like social
behaviors in the domestic dog, including their ability to respond
to human body language, verbal commands, and to attentional states.
Udell and team carried out two experiments comparing the performance of pet domestic dogs,(and) shelter dogs...
given the opportunity to beg for food, from either an attentive person orfrom a person unable to see the animal.
They wanted to know whetherthe rearing and living environment of the animal (shelter or human
home...., had the greater impact on the animal's performance.
They showed...that domestic dogs are capable of begging successfully for food by approaching the attentive human.
This demonsrates (they)have the capacity to behave in accordance with a human's attentional state. In addition
(they) were able to rapidly improve their performance with practice.
(Also) dogs from a home environment rather than a shelter were more sensitive to stimuli predicting attentive
humans. Those dogs with less regular exposure to humans performed badly on the begging task.
According to the researchers, "These results suggest that dogs'ability to follow human actions stems from a
willingness to accept humans as social companions, combined with conditioning to follow the limbs and actions of
humans to acquire reinforcement. The type of attentional cues, the context in which the command is presented, and
previous experience are all important."
The key here is that our dogs can cue in on our behavior and "thinking" in ways that are far more nuanced and
complicated then many have given them credit for in the past.
The more time you spend with your best friend, the better you will be able to communicate and talk to her.. she
will do do her part as she acclimates to the behavorial and other mindset cues you give her... It will become
second nature as your dog becomes a "mind reader", enhancing your relationship for a lifetime!