Study: Dogs Understand When Humans Misplace Something Valuable

Your dog knows you better than you think. A new study reveals that canines seem to be able to understand when we’ve lost something that is valuable to us. University of Portsmouth researchers had 48 dogs watch a researcher write on a notebook and then leave the room. While the research was gone, another person hid either the notebook or a stapler in one of three opaque tubs. When the research returned to the room, she pretended to search for the notebook, and asked some of the dogs where it was. The dogs were more likely to draw her attention to the only tub with an object inside, and they looked longer at the tub holding the notebook than the one with the stapler. Study leader and vet, Patricia Piotti says since there was no reward involved, the fact that the dogs tried to draw attention to the missing notepad suggested they were trying to be helpful. She explains, “Dogs have outstanding abilities when it comes to communicating with humans. One theory is that they have adapted to life with humans by evolving specialized cognitive skills for interacting with people.” She added that further work is needed to prove that the notebook-hunting dogs were actually trying to be helpful and not simply playing a version of fetch. (Daily Mail