According to some recent research, dog's are becoming smarter simply by associating with us humans. That's right, just by hanging with the bipeds.
Now don't go home and tell your significant other's that HektikLyfe said you need to let your dog sleep on the bed from now on so they can get smarter. Thats not the way it works. Aside from the fact that your dog would never wake up from all your nighttime sleepfarts, it would take generations for it to make a difference.
Ever hear of natural selection? It doesn't work exactly like that but if you understand that you will get the general idea.
I go to the puppy store and see a box of puppies. There is one deformed, mentally retarded run walking into the wall and there is another sitting playfully looking at me. Which do I pick?
My neighbor has a great dog who knows many verbal commands and he tells me he has some puppies. My other neighbor has a dumb animal that likes to bite children. I think about this one for a while but eventually pick the smart one. For those that need clarification I mean the one that DOESN'T bite brats.
Call it unnatural selection. After years and years of people selectively choosing and breeding the smarter dogs, their intelligence appears to have grown beyond what was previously known.
...these pets now appear to have a limited "theory of mind", the capacity that enables us to understand the desires, motivations and intentions of others... (New Scientist)According to Marc Bekoff, from the University of Colorado at Boulder, because dogs can play rough but rarely escalate to serious fighting shows that dogs abide by certain rules and expect others to do the same. In other words, Marc believes that dogs know right from wrong and they are not just responding to training.
Now get this little interesting nugget I never knew; Péter Pongrácz from Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest says, "Barking is rare among feral dogs, suggesting that it evolved during domestication to allow dogs to communicate with us..."
They were trying to learn how to TALK! XO
Akiko Takaoka from Kyoto University, Japan, played dogs recordings of unfamiliar voices with each voice followed by a photo of a human face on a screen. If the gender of the face did not match that of the voice, the dogs stared longer, a sign that the image did not match their expectations and yet more evidence that they have been honed to communicate with people.Dudes. One day they will rebel and Earth will become Planet of the Dogs! Damn you! Damn you all to hell! Damn dirty dogs!
Meanwhile, Dr Juliane Kaminski at the University of Cambridge has examined how dogs can use human gestures such as pointing and gazing to find hidden food or toys and concludes that dogs do understand that we are trying to tell them something. "Domestication seems to have shaped dogs in a way which enables them to use these gestures from as early as six weeks," she tells New Scientist.