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06.10.2021
The Latest in Research on Dogs!
New research finds - not only humans, some dogs too have an exceptional talent.

The Latest in Research on Dogs!    

Researchers from the Family Dog Project at the Department of Ethology at ELTE University in Budapest, found that some gifted dogs have a rare skill of learning names of objects in an astonishing speed and in the absence of formal training. In order to better understand why only some dogs have this rare talent and how does it work, the researchers started the Genius Dog Challenge, which is at the same time a research project and a social media campaign.

Dogs have a receptive understanding of certain aspects of the human language which makes them particularly suitable for this research. While all dogs, with some training, can learn the meaning of verbal commands to perform some actions, recent findings show that only some gifted individuals have an astonishing capacity to learn object names, such as the names of their toys.

The researchers explained that their previous publications have focused on the ability of gifted dogs to rapidly learn the names of objects, remember object names, and categorize objects according to their shape and function. Moving forward, during the next few months, the research will examine the ability of gifted dogs to understand abstract concepts.

One example for such a concept would be testing if the gifted dogs can match identical objects. In this test the dogs are presented with a toy and asked to find an identical one from a pool of about 10 different stuffed animals.

The findings of this project will not only give us insights into how dogs understand our communication but, on the long term, the project is also expect to provide some answers in the challenging field of talent research, which so far had only included human subjects. The scientists are hoping that these gifted dogs can help us, humans, understand ourselves better.

As this research moves forward, TRIXIE will support this international project, with a selected group of gifted word learner dogs that were recruited from all over the world.