A new study in the journal Learning & Behavior states that dogs are so in tune with us that they can read our minds and that they were likely born with the ability. Chances are that if you are a dog lover, you didn’t need a journal to tell you that. Pictured above is my Olde English Bulldogge Tia during one of her daily psychic readings.
The more time a dog spends around people the better their “canine telepathy” becomes. It should not surprise anyone (well, almost anyone) that this phenomenon is actually a hyperawareness of their senses and not a paranormal feat. Most of us who have spent any amount of time around dogs know that they can sense fatigue, anger, depression and other illnesses before we show any outward signs of them. Certain canines have even been shown to sniff out cancer.
Researchers from the University of Florida, led by Monique Udell, carried out a set of experiments conducted on both wolves and dogs. Each of the animals were allowed to beg for food from either an attentive person or from a person unable to see the animal. The researchers found that wolves, in addition to dogs, were able to beg successfully from attentive humans. This shows that both the domesticated and non-domesticated Canids have the capacity to behave in accordance with a human’s attentional state. It can be inferred that this ability is inborn in the wolf due to their lack of prior interactions with humans. Both wolves and dogs were far less likely to beg for food when the human had their back turned towards them.
Further experimentation showed that dogs raised as pets (as opposed to growing up in a shelter) were more likely to respond to cues when they had the attention of a human. The indication is that in the course of living with, and being cared for by humans, they’d learned to better understand our behaviors. “What this shows is that it’s not a question of nature versus nurture,” explained Udell. “It’s always going to be a combination to the two that informs a dog’s responsiveness to humans.” Pet dogs have been shown to be capable of responding to human body language and verbal commands equal to, or better than our closest primate cousin, the chimpanzee.
Ok, so the word “telepathy” in the title is somewhat misleading. I don’t believe in that kind of stuff anyway. Maybe it should be called canine empathy.