What Do Dogs Think? Not That Much, Actually.


Last week, we learned how cats drink. Because we’d been wondering for a while. And because the New York Times decided to tell us. Now we’ve got another very important animal question to tackle: “What do dogs think?” CNN, fortunately, via Duke University’s Canine Cognition Center in Durham, North Carolina, has broken it down for us. Sort of.

You may be surprised to know that the Canine Cognition Center “is one of the few labs in the country focused on how dogs think.” But, actually, you probably aren’t.

Scientists at the lab put dogs through a number of games to study their psychology and how they solve problems. This is a serious matter:

“We don’t want to look at cute pet tricks. What we want to know is, what does the dog understand about its world?” said Brian Hare, the lab’s director.

Turns out, dogs think people are awesome. And “super-important.” And that “they can solve almost any problem if they rely on people,” says Hare. Also, they’re sneaky.

Just like children, dogs also understand that if you turn your back, they can misbehave, especially after their owners have told them not to do something.

In brief, dogs are like kids, except simpler and more dependable and furrier, with less backtalk. And they think you rock. Meanwhile, cats are thinking about how weird we are for caring how they drink. And we’re thinking, “How does one get a job at that Canine Cognition Center”?