See Spot Spot Spot
Based on the strength of other research I’ve criticized self-styled gurus who pretend to act like animals. They may be fooling themselves and their gullible followers but they are not fooling the dog.
This study finds that even on a computer monitor, a dog can tell the difference between a dog, a human or another animal. This study also supports other studies into animal thinking showing that dogs can put objects into categories.
Dogs join humans, macaques, some birds, and sheep as species that can recognize themselves – the amazing thing is that all these other animals look alike while dogs show the greatest diversity of any other species. And this inside look into the animal mind comes thanks to clicker training, the training method used on the dogs.
The dog doesn’t see you as the alpha leader, the top dog, and he doesn’t think you are a moose. You are a human, start acting like one.
In most social interactions, an animal has to determine whether the other animal belongs to its own species. This perception may be visual and may involve several cognitive processes such as discrimination and categorization. Perceptual categorization is likely to be involved in species characterized by a great phenotypic diversity. As a consequence of intensive artificial selection, domestic dogs, Canis familiaris, present the largest phenotypic diversity among domestic mammals. The goal of our study was to determine whether dogs can discriminate any type of dog from other species and can group all dogs whatever their phenotypes within the same category. Nine pet dogs were successfully trained through instrumental conditioning using a clicker and food rewards to choose a rewarded image, S+, out of two images displayed on computer screens. The generalization step consisted in the presentation of a large sample of paired images of heads of dogs from different breeds and cross-breeds with those of other mammal species, included humans. A reversal phase followed the generalization step. Each of the nine subjects was able to group all the images of dogs within the same category. Thus, the dogs have the capacity of species discrimination despite their great phenotypic variability, based only on visual images of heads.
- Dogs Can Pick Out Pictures of Their Species (livescience.com)