Cute Puppies and Their Amazing Powers of Manipulation

It’s not a mystery that humans are far from unique in their social reasoning capabilities, but studies suggest that dogs deserve a place on the list of animals that share these talents. We knew that they are smart, but this smart? Are they really manipulating us?

It’s not a mystery that humans are far from unique in their social reasoning capabilities, but studies suggest that dogs deserve a place on the list of animals that share these talents. We knew that they are smart, but this smart? Are they really manipulating us?

The earnestness that dogs demonstrate so emphatically may be a part of their… well, not exactly a plan, but a natural strategy that certainly pays off. Dr. Juliane Kaminski of the University of Portsmouth’s Dog Cognition Center believes that dogs’ facial expressions differ in situations when humans are paying attention and when they are not. Such emotional intellect capabilities were previously noted in apes, which means that intelligence is more important than domestication in determining an animal’s ability to manipulate (not necessarily consciously) their counterparts. The animals’ tactical planning abilities include multiple-step combinations to achieve simple, yet very desirable goals.

How smart is smart?

Under certain conditions dogs are even smarter and more flexible in their decision-making than monkeys. This may be partially due to their emotional ties with humans, which provide additional sources of non-verbal information. Emotional intellect requires no reflection on the part of the animals and transforms the information they subconsciously receive from our facial expressions, etc., straight into the right choice of action to be taken, no extra steps required for this learning. They probably can’t figure out people’s emotional state, but they know what the optimal behavior patterns are to obtain the desired reaction.

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