There is nothing better in the world than having a dog as a companion. They follow us, play with us, walk by us, a dog literally lives for a person. But other than playing fetch or going on long walks with your dog, did you know that a dog’s mind may be more sophisticated or intellectual than you think. 

Researchers have proven through a few studies as to how a dog’s level of intelligence could be much higher than most people think. Take a look. 

Are Dogs with bigger brains smarter?

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Are Dogs with bigger brains smarter ?

According to a new study led by the University of Arizona, bigger dos with larger brains perform better on certain measures of intelligence than their smaller canine counterparts.

Larger dogs outperformed smaller dogs o measures of executive functions, a set of cognitive processes that are necessary for controlling and coordinating other cognitive abilities and behaviors. Also, bigger dogs were shown to have better short term memory and self-control than more petite pups. 

A dog’s brain size does not seem to be linked with all types of intelligence. Researchers found that the brain size didn’t predict a dog’s performance on tests of social intelligence, which was actually measured y testing each dog’s ability to follow pointing human gestures. And wasn’t merely linked with a dog’s inferential and physical reasoning ability. 

The study was based on data from more than 7000 purebred domestic dogs from 74 different breeds. Brain size was estimated based on breed standards. The brain size was estimated by basing on the breed standards.

In tests conducted by researchers, results showed that the smaller dogs had more difficulty remembering where the treats were hidden. And in a test regarding self-control, researchers found that the larger dogs typically waited longer to take the treat. The researchers found that larger brained dogs had better short term memory and self-control than smaller dogs, regardless of the extent of their training.

The research was carried out by Daniel Horschler a UA anthropology doctoral student and member of the UA’s Arizona Canine Cognition Center and a group of researchers. 

Dog’s know even when they don’t know!!

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Dog’s know even when they don’t know!!

Researchers have shown that dogs possess certain metacognitive abilities – specifically if hey are aware of when they lack enough information to solve a problem and will actively seek more information. 

The researchers conducted a test in which dogs had to find a reward behind one of two fences.. They found out that dogs looked for additional information significantly more often when they had not seen where the reward was hidden.

So what are meta-cognitive abilities?

According to researchers, it is sometimes described as the ability to “know what one knows” and specifically whether they are aware of what information they have learned and whether they need more information. 

Researchers carried out a test where the objects were placed behind fences with gaps for certain dogs to be able to peep and see where the reward was placed. This was done to see how often a dog would peer to see the reward before choosing an option

The Passport Effect !!

Researchers also carried out the Passport effect, where the subject would engage in a more active sort of searching behavior and would go on to continue searching for the object till it is found when compared to looking for something less important.

The Results !!

Researchers found that the dogs did not check significantly more often for the rewards when they hadn’t seen where it was placed. However the dogs checked more when they had no knowledge of the reward's location could suggest that the dogs did show metacognitive abilities, as they meet one of the assumptions of knowing about knowing.

In the 1st test, with food or toy as regard, when dogs checked they were correct more often than when they didn’t check. While in the 2nd test with high or low-value food, they weren’t always correct. Researchers theorize that this could be due to inhibition problems – like when the dogs get so excited about finding the reward that they couldn’t stop themselves from approaching the closest fence even when they knew that the reward wasn’t there.

So do dogs have meta-cognitive abilities ?

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So do dogs have meta-cognitive abilities ?

While researchers aren’t still sure regarding if dogs did possess these metacognition skills, they did display some evidence for it. Unlike humans, who use vision, dogs rely on their sense of smell. Researchers concluded that more than sight, the smell might be the prime factor for dogs, and the test did display how they utilized this ability to the fullest.

The research was carried out by Juliane Brauer, Julia Belger and a team of researchers from the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.