Tuesday Training Tips with Tuff Tuesday Oct 13, 2020 Canine Cognition
Tuesday Training Tips with Tuff
Tuesday Oct 13, 2020
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Cognitive studies focus on how perception, learning, memory, and decision-making support problem-solving behavior (Miklósi & Szabó, 2012). Although it is difficult to account for dogs’ cognitive traits in terms of fitness as estimated by modern behavior ecology, there is a general consensus that social-cognitive skills in particular clearly contribute to dogs’ survival in an anthropogenic environment.
Our understanding of mental representation in dogs has been greatly enhanced by the ability to follow the eye movements of dogs. Eye tracking allows for the monitoring of attention, including interest, preference, and also some aspects of planning. Dogs’ eye movements follow the gaze of their human partner if he or she displays communicative intent (Téglás, Gergely, Kupán, Miklósi, & Topál, 2012), and dogs scan the human face differently depending on the emotion displayed (Somppi, Törnqvist, Hänninen, Krause, & Vainio, 2014).
The domestic dog’s accessibility, social intelligence, and evolutionary history with humans have led to increasing interest in canine cognition. However, the demonstration that dogs can be trained to cooperatively participate in fMRI studies has opened up a wealth of new data about canine brain function. Many of these studies have investigated the dog’s preternatural social intelligence, focusing on neural pathways associated with different types of reward, including social reward, and face and vocal processing. These studies have implications for our understanding of canine brain function, and potentially, because of dogs’ close relations with humans, for models of human development and pathology.
Through these studies we have taken canine cognition and games to build confidence in dogs and teach social cues and life skills. (Berns, 2016)
Here is a Cognitive Game you can play with your dogs that is all about decision making.
Problem solving: If the dog continues to pick the same hand repeatedly place a treat in each hand, encourage the dog to choose the other hand once the first hand choice has been exhausted.
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Kristi May MS, CVPM, LVMT, BSA, AHT, ABCDT, CHA Cert Riding Lesson Instructor, CHA EFM, Cert Equine Nutrition, Cert Animal Cognitive Behavior
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Berns, G. S., & Cook, P. F. (2016). Why Did the Dog Walk Into the MRI? Current Directions in Psychological Science, 25(5), 363–369. https://doi.org/10.1177/0963721416665006
Lea, S.E.G., Osthaus, B. In what sense are dogs special? Canine cognition in comparative context. Learn Behav 46, 335–363 (2018). https://doi.org/10.3758/s13420-018-0349-7
Miklósi, Á., & Kubinyi, E. (2016). Current Trends in Canine Problem-Solving and Cognition. Current directions in psychological science, 25(5), 300–306. https://doi.org/10.1177/096372141666606
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