Sorry to Tell You: Your Dog Isn’t Particularly Smart, According to Science

published Nov 30, 2018
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We all know how perfect our furry friends are. Sure, they may scratch the furniture and eat our shoes, but we love our dogs like they’re our extra-hairy children. So it’s particularly brutal that a new study says Fido and Sparky are not particularly gifted.

According to a new study in “Learning & Behavior,” dogs are cognitively quite ordinary when compared to other carnivores, domestic animals, and social hunters.

“There is no current case for canine exceptionalism,” the authors state. However, it’s not that dogs aren’t totally awesome, which we all know. It’s just that the scientists say they aren’t any more exceptional than other animals out there. It seems the bottlenose dolphin and the grey seal take commands even better, “Scientific American” concludes. (Fine, but call us when you can cuddle up on the couch with a bottlenose dolphin. We’re just saying…)

So what makes us view our dogs in such a favorable light? It turns out that our belief that our dogs are gifted is directly related to how we view ourselves. People tend to give themselves above-average ratings when asked to rate their personal traits, and it seems this goes for our pets too. According to “Scientific American,” a study published in “Basic and Applied Social Psychology” asked 137 pet owners to rate both their own pet and the average pet on a range of traits. According to the results, people gave their pets above average ratings on desirable traits, and below average ratings on undesirable ones.

Okay, so our dogs may not be performing mathematical equations any day soon, but whatever. At least we know women sleep better with dogs next to them than their significant others!