Modern technology has given us a lot to be grateful for, but one of its most underappreciated applications involves providing a greater understanding of the natural world. There is no doubt that we are light years away from truly understanding the millions of species of plants and Animals in our ecosystem but we have already begun this long and rewarding journey. Technology has perhaps provided us with the most insight when it comes to our favorite animal companions – Dogs. We have always suspected that dogs are highly intelligent beings with a healthy amount of emotional intelligence as well, but recent Studies have allowed us to dig even deeper into these theories.

Dogs and deception

Did you know that dogs are capable of deceiving us whenever they deem necessary? Man's best friend is loyal to us most of the time, but sometimes the need to receive a tasty treat can be a bit too overwhelming for our canine companions.

Recent studies conducted by Marianne Heberlein from the Department of Evolutionary Biology and Experimental Studies at the University of Zurich provided interesting insight as to why a dog may try to deceive us.

The study utilized two human beings who were given one dog each for the purpose of this experiment. For the first phase, both the participants were asked to show their respective dogs a bowl full of treats. One of the participants gives their dog the treats while the other withholds it.

For the second phase the dogs were taught to lead the human subjects to boxes containing treats. Even in this situation, the first human being gave the treats to the dog while the second withheld the treats for the second time.

For the final phase of the experiment the dogs were shown three unique boxes. One of the boxes contained sausages, another some simple biscuits, while the third box remained empty.

The dogs were trained in such a way that they knew that they would receive all the treats by the end of the experiment.

The first dog gladly led its human companion to the treats and allowed them to consume whatever they wanted, knowing full well that he would get the leftovers. The second dog however purposely misled its human subject and took the participant to the empty box in order to ensure that he would get the remaining treats.

It was a sure sign that the dog was deceiving the participant for its own benefit.

Dogs have gotten smarter and more perceptive

Recent studies have also shown that the decades spent with human beings have made dogs of this generation substantially smarter and more perceptive. In one experiment a border collie named Chaser who was adept at identifying objects could pick out and remove unfamiliar toys even though there was no specific command.

In another study it was seen that dogs modify their behaviour based on the people around them and are seen to be dismissive of unhelpful individuals.

Canine cognition centers are being set up all over the world in order to gain a deeper understanding of the minds of our favourite pets.