New study suggests that dogs have self-awareness

If your weren’t mad at those horrible Newsmax blowhards who dissed the First Dog, Champ, before, this is going to send you over the edge! A new study just confirmed that dogs are self-aware. Although they’ve shown the simplest form of self-awareness, the tests showed that your pups are cognizant of their body and actions and their consequences in their environment.

Canine behavioral studies have made numerous recent advancements, including a recent study that suggests, just like humans, your dog can understand the consequences of its actions and manifest body awareness.

Self-representation is an abstract concept that revolves around the idea that a person holds a certain image of self in their own mind.

On a much simpler level, body awareness or the recognition of the relation between one’s body and the environment seems to be a common concept in both man and dog, according to researchers.

In a study published in the journal Scientific Reports on February 18, researchers suggest that man’s best friend can recognize their relationship with their environment and distinguish the consequences of their actions. Dogs may have exhibited the simplest form of self-awareness.

With dog’s close proximity with humans, researchers studied the concept of self-awareness and body image in a man’s best friend.

[The Science Times]

So dogs are officially more in tune with themselves then most men – I’m kidding! The main reason we didn’t know this about dogs is because no one has thought to look into it before. The fact is, in the test conducted, 32 of the 54 adult dogs passed the initial screening. The test itself was fairly simple, they attached a toy to a mat and the dog had to understand that in order to hand the toy to their owner, they had to get off the mat. It’s funny, but reading or watching it, you think, seriously, they couldn’t figure out they were why the mat wasn’t moving? But you forget they’re dogs, you know? And how often do any of us have to deal with toys attached to the thing we are sitting on? For every shepherd that figured it out, there’s probably a Pomeranian still on the mat barking at the toy and looking hurt that it won’t come with them.

This obviously has big scientific ripples, none of which I fully comprehend because I’m still on the mat with the Pomeranian trying to figure out why the toy is being so difficult. But I immediately went into the psychological when I read the headline, and thought what damage have we wrought? My male dog is in great shape but has a bunch of extra skin, especially around his neck. Now I’m convinced he needs therapy because we’ve made him self-conscious by playing with it. And every time we imitate our girl dog’s head cock, does she see us as mocking her? Does she doubt her self-worth? And I feel absolutely shallow for the number of times I’ve told them how pretty they were and not emphasized their intelligence or kind hearts – I’m a monster and when they chew up their tell all about me, I’ll deserve it. I wish a study could explain how my dog can be body aware but still run headfirst into a closed sliding glass door with stickers on it.

Here’s the actual test, if you want to see our brilliant, self-aware dogs in action:




Photo credit: Jay Wennington, James Barker, Jenny Marvin and Jamie Street of Unsplash and YouTube

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27 Responses to “New study suggests that dogs have self-awareness”

  1. Tom says:

    No question.

    Next can we talk about dogs and whatever comes after death? Because my beagle Jack …

    • Dss says:

      Dogs are the purest form of love, of course they go to heaven. Also as an aside, people who are on the decline and actively dying will see relatives or deceased pets coming to guide them on their way. I hope this is true.
      I hope when I die I am greeted by all of my deceased pups and that they speak my language.

    • Prana says:

      I’m sorry about your beagle. My boy Boris passed away last June. I found a lot of comfort in reading books about dogs and the afterlife. May be a bit wooey for some, but it helped me tremendously.

    • The Recluse says:

      I am pretty damn sure that my wolf-dog Maggie visited me once after we lost her. I sensed her come into the room and felt her bump the bed as she always did when she came in to sleep. She came in because I was just lying there grieving over her absence. It only happened once. It only needed to happen once. She reassured me that she was okay and I was able to let her go.

    • MarineTheMachine says:

      I once read a French book from Dominique Lormier called Les vies antérieures and there was this passage about a dog waiting for its owner in the afterlife. It was so beautiful to imagine, now I hope for all my pets to wait for me when I cross too!

  2. Christina says:

    My dog has convinced me that she is brilliant. I am perfectly trained by my 11 lb pooch.

  3. Amanda Bennett says:

    Of course!!
    When it comes to being amazed at dogs and being smart and self aware, Instagram’s hunger4words will blow your mind. I’ve been watching a dog learn how to use a word board for nearly 2 years and I am in awe.

  4. fluffy_bunny says:

    My older dog broke a tooth on a bone and needed to get extensive dental work because of it. He knows he’s not allowed bones anymore. There’s still bones around because his sister is allowed to chew on them. She knows he’s not allowed to have them so she teases him by chewing on bones in front of him.

  5. Astrid says:

    I’m pretty sure my cats are more self aware than your dogs LOL I only get up a few times a night to let them in and out of the house.

  6. Kealeen says:

    This is exactly why, as a teenager, I refused to let my mom keep trying to dress up our min-pin/terrier mix. It was obvious that it embarrassed her, and she hated it. She was SO emotionally self-aware, and we catered to it, which I think is part of why she lived nearly 17 happy years of life. Cats are more in-tune than they’re given credit for as well. My two picked up a lot of great habits from my dog, and always come running when I’m upset.

  7. Bettyrose says:

    I’m perfectly self aware that if my dogs aren’t geniuses than I’m especially dull since they manipulate me with ease.

  8. OriginalLala says:

    I want to see this study done with cats, then we will finally know for sure, that cats are indeed slowly working towards total world domination through manipulating and controlling humans.

    - signed,
    Woman owned by three cats who rule the household with tiny furry iron fists.

  9. Anony83 says:

    Oh no, I make fun of my lab’s big old butt all the time. I hope he knows I like big butts and I cannot lie!

    • Drea says:

      The adage “people don’t remember what you say, they remember how you made them feel” is x1000 with dogs. Big butts are the greatest to your dog, if that’s how you’re presenting it.

  10. Drea says:

    As long as you say things positively and and with some pets and scritches, you can call your dog an a-hole and they’ll think it’s a good thing. So I wouldn’t worry about body image. Dogs are the best.

    • Bettyrose says:

      Exactly! One of our pups was practically emaciated we brought him home. He’s now a little chubster, which I lovingly praise him for. I’m pretty sure he loves hearing it.

  11. Leigh_S says:

    What I love about dogs, and horses, is that they understand us far better than we understand ourselves. The words mean nothing, the tone, the stress hormones and body language are everything. We can lie to each other, we can lie to ourselves but we can not lie to the dog or the horse.

    They know. They always know. Yet they live and work with us anyway.

  12. Lissdogmom02 says:

    Dogs are much smarter than we think for sure. I love your worry on messing up your dogs psyche, I too was thinking of this as I read.
    I will say though I thought I had dogs figured out until one day recently when my dads dog, who was with him when he passed, my mom came home to find my dad. Anyhoo buddy my dads dog who is sweet as ever, I was listening to the answering machine as one does when they don’t answer the phone at their parents, my dads voice is still on there & probably the reason my doesn’t have voicemail, dads voice came on & buddy started howling in sorrow, I’ve never seen him do that nor did I know he could make that noise. It gutted me to hear his pain, I felt so bad for him. So yes dogs are very aware especially if you treat them as family like we do. I do ramble on don’t I lol.
    Great story as always.

  13. lucy2 says:

    If dogs are self aware…they’ve already surpassed Meghan McCain.

  14. Mette says:

    Cats do not approve of this research.

  15. Elizabeth says:

    I am so here for dog and cat content 🥰

  16. The Recluse says:

    My three current furboys are hyper sensitive souls and they get things. It doesn’t take much to get a response and they sure do know how to manipulate and flat out order me around. I am so lucky to have dogs in my life.

  17. Hardbackbooks says:

    Love dogs but can’t stand to see them age (had a labrador growing up and he was a wonderful soul). I try to donate as much as I can to help street dogs and dogs on dog-meat farms around the world. If you ever find yourself feeling sorry for yourself due to a breakup, stress at work, etc, check out what these dogs have to go through. <3 dogs. They’re all different and unique. We had a dog who’d approach anyone who was crying and try to comfort them. More perceptive and sensitive than a lot of humans.

  18. Christine says:

    I love my two dogs so much, but never more when they get a sheepish look on their faces. They absolutely have body awareness. The good news, for me, is they get over whatever has flummoxed them, with kisses and cuddles. I cannot say the same for my cat.

    She would knife me in my sleep, if she had opposable thumbs. She has body awareness, and actual awareness, but thankfully, no opposable thumbs. I am quite certain it is the only reason I am still alive. I laughed at her the other day when she feel off the back of the couch, when she was sleeping, and immediately recognized my mistake. I sleep with one eye open. My dogs are definitely not going to save me from my cat. They know who is the actual head of this house.

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