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by Mary Soderstrom

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Tuesday, 23 April 2013

How Smart Is Your Dog? A Scientist Tries to Find out

When Jeanne was old enough to behave like a dog--to go and fetch something when you asked her--we were very pleased and proud.  We laughed at the time that the day would soon come when she would stop doing that unless she felt like, and that therein lay the difference between dogs and kids.



Perhaps: Brian Hare, an evolutionary biologist at Duke University, is undertaking  big study of dog intelligence, trying to enlist thousands of dog owners to test their pets and send in the results. 

Hare says that dog  smarts are as different from those of their closest relatives, wolves, as ours are from chimpanzees'. We and our canine friends pick up cues from our fellows the way the other animals can't. 

It would be great fun to try out the tests Hare and his colleagues have developed, but we haven't a handy dog to do them.   Maybe we'll go try to borrow one.


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