Features October 2017 Issue

Are Canines Cognitive?

In the mid 17th century, French philosopher René Descartes posited, “Cogito ergo sum” – “I think, therefore I am.” This became a shortened summation of his proposition that there must be a thinking entity in order for there to be a thought. Who can doubt that dogs and other non-human animals think?

Are Canines Cognitive?

We have no doubt: Dogs have greater powers of reasoning and intelligence than we usually give them credit for. Learn how to teach your dog to show you how and what he thinks!

In our apparently endless quest to prove our species superior to all others who walk this earth, even as those other dominoes fall, we have long clung stubbornly to the belief that dogs and other species were seriously deficient in the cognition arena. Defined as “perception, reasoning, understanding, intelligence, awareness, insight, comprehension, apprehension, discernment” (and more, depending on the source), cognition also includes the ability to grasp and apply concepts, and “theory of mind” – the ability to recognize and understand the thoughts of others.

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