This news will come to no surprise to anyone who has lived with dogs: Dogs likely are born with “Canine Telepathy”. Naturally, there’s a reason:
Practice makes perfect, however, so the more a dog hangs around humans, the better he or she becomes at “canine telepathy,” which actually relies upon hyperawareness of the senses.
Those of us who have owned or been around dogs for any period of time know how well they often “get” us, sensing tiredness, depression, headaches or other maladies before we consciously exhibit any major outward signs of distress. Dogs can even detect when a person has cancer. They also seem to sense our joy and good health.
Most dog owners know this. You think about getting the dog a cookie, and suddenly they’re there, slavering all over your leg with eyes lit up like Christmas trees. You move toward the hallway, thinking that it’s time to take Fido for a walk, and suddenly they get dancy feet and start running around like a wild beast.
One of the probable theories is that they respond to micro-cues that people don’t know they’re sending, the same types of unconscious cues that led to Clever Hans’s reknown. Dogs are even better at this than horses, given their longer history and greater adaptability to human behavior. This hyper-awareness of human cues is probably a result of domestication, as the Russian Fox experiment demonstrated. As animals learn to live cooperatively with humans, they begin to exhibit traits that enhance that partnership – whether deliberately selected by humans or not.
In the study, the researchers come to the same conclusion:
The dogs and wolves had to choose whether to beg for food from an attentive person or experimenters whose faces were blocked. Their faces were blocked in one of four ways: their backs were turned, they held a book over their faces, they had a bucket over their heads or they held a camera over their eyes.
Researchers found that both dogs and wolves were more likely to beg from experimenters who were facing them than those with their backs turned.
Whatever the reason, the ability to learn and predict human behaviors definitely contributes to the adage that dogs are a man’s best friend. And if you’ll excuse me, I was thinking about getting the dogs a cookie and I’m pretty sure they’re not going to leave me alone until I fulfill their prediction.