The testing setup was in a small room, with two computer monitors which could be used to display the test images see the image below. If he approached the dog image he heard a click and could return for a bit of a treat. Since I had just read this recent journal publication I had an answer for my colleague's question. For some dogs this was a difficult task, but ultimately all of the dogs learned to make the correct choice and reached criterion. At least I could assure him that according to recent findings, our domestic dogs are more intelligent than your average astrobiologist from Mars when it comes to recognizing what a dog looks like. A barrier separated them so that the dog had to clearly choose which side he was going to. Yet if we observe the social behavior of dogs they seem to be doing a pretty good job at this.
Each testing session consisted of 12 trials. The nine dogs the researchers used as test subjects all were pets belonging to students at the National Veterinary School of Lyon in France. The really hard work in a study like this involves two aspects of the project, first the selection of the right kind of images to use, and second how to go about the training and testing. The testing setup was in a small room, with two computer monitors which could be used to display the test images see the image below. The dog pictures consisted of purebred and mixed-bred canines selected from the four major morphotypes: Now to nail this result down, the experimenters reversed the choices so that the correct choice would now be the non-dog image. Their body cover ranges from nearly hairless to extremely long and corded coats, and their coat textures from stiff, to soft, and curly. No faces of wolves or foxes were included in the non-dog species since even humans often have difficulty distinguishing these from domestic dogs. Yet if we observe the social behavior of dogs they seem to be doing a pretty good job at this. All dogs were tested until they reached a performance criterion of 10 out of 12 correct choices on two consecutive days. After a while the blank image was replaced with that of a cow, and later the dog image was varied through four different dog images. The important finding of this study is that dogs seem to have a general notion of what fits into the category "dogs" and which animals are clearly not dogs. The backgrounds were all made to be uniform blue. The experimenters were looking at whether dogs could make a discrimination between other dogs compared to non-dog species of animals. The set of non-dog species included pictures of domestic and wild animals including: A barrier separated them so that the dog had to clearly choose which side he was going to. They can demonstrate this knowledge and their ability to discriminate by either choosing a dog or a non-dog as is required by a particular task. Visual discrimination of species in dogs Canis familiaris. Such a decision would make sense based simply on the huge differences in their sizes and shapes. Their colors can include black, brown, yellow, white, and various shades of red and orange. Given all of the variability in the sizes and shapes of dogs, it might seem like a daunting task to ask a dog to recognize all of the varieties that make up our domestic canine species, and to distinguish them from other forms of animals. May not be reprinted, reposted without permission Data and images from: It included all of the major different features of head shape, hair length, color, position of ears upright or floppy. So I was wondering, can a dog recognize that all of the other breeds and variations of dogs are the same species that he is? In all cases the correct choice was the dog. Their results are published in the journal Animal Cognition.
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