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Do Dogs Really Think?

MSNBC story:

My dog, Monterey, and her "thoughtful" look

Dog owners have long maintained that their pooches have a lot more going on between their furry ears than scientists acknowledge. Now, new research is adding to the growing evidence that man's best friend thinks a lot more than many humans have believed.

The provocative new experiment indicated that dogs can do something that previously only humans, including infants, have been shown capable of doing: decide how to imitate a behavior based on the specific circumstances in which the action takes place.

"The fact that the dogs imitate selectively, depending on the situation -- that has not been shown before," said Friederike Range of the University of Vienna, who led the study. "That's something completely new."

The problem with a scientific definition of dogs thought processes is that these things have always been considered human attributes and so it's sort of demeaning to assign the same criteria to other animals. But anyone who has ever owned a dog has absolutely no doubt they can and do think.

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Comments (4)

Steve Crickmore:

Very interesting article Paul, that you linked to. I always felt that way about my pet dog when I had one too.

Lee Ward:

Is that an Australian Sheepdog? I had one with very similar coloring, and man was that the world's greatest dog (well, second greatest next to Monterey, *wink)

John in CA:

My dog "thinks" it is always time for me to feed him.

LOL, and my Aussie always "thought" it was time to chase the soccer ball.


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