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Clever hounds: social cognition in the domestic dog (Canis familiaris) Cooper et. al.

The paper by Cooper et.al. called “Clever hounds: social cognition in the domestic dog (Canis familiaris) reviews why the domestic dog makes a good model species for humans.

Dogs are an excellent model species for humans.  They can be used to investigate cognitive processes related to social living.  The paper also goes over a number of experimental approaches that can be adapted to investigate these processes.
Three main reasons why dogs are good models are described.  One, they evolved from social animals that have numerous  co-operative behaviours (hunting).  Two, while they co-evolved with humans, the dogs with the best ability to adapt to our society were domesticated.  Three, they live with humans.
In order to investigate cognitive processes in dogs, changes in behaviour need to be monitored.  A number of tests to investigate the cognitive skills of pre-verbal infants were adapted to dogs.  The adapted methodologies included expectancy violation, mental state attribution, choice of target when begging and use of demonstrators.
This paper describes, in depth, how the tests were adapted and the outcomes.

Cooper, JJ  et. al. Clever hounds: social cognition in the domestic dog (Canis familiaris) Applied Animal Behaviour Science 81 (2003) 229-244

http://faculty.washington.edu/jcha/330_dog_social_cognition.pdf

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