Is cognition the secret to working dog success?

Journal Article (Review;Journal Article)

Dogs' special relationship with humans not only makes them ubiquitous in our lives, but working dogs specifically perform essential functions for us such as sniffing out bombs and pulling wheelchairs for the disabled. To enhance the performance of working dogs, it is essential to understand the cognitive skills that underlie and lead to their success. This review details recent work in the field of canine cognition, including how dogs have evolved socio-cognitive skills that mimic or, in some cases, rival even our closest primate relatives. We review how these findings have laid the foundation for new studies that hope to help enhance working dog programs. This includes work that has begun to reveal the development and stability of the most important traits for service work. Discoveries like these suggest the possibility of translating what we have learned to improve breeding, selection, and training for these jobs. The latest research we review here shows promise in contributing to the production of better dogs and, consequently, more help for people.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Hare, B; Ferrans, M

Published Date

  • March 9, 2021

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 24 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 231 - 237

PubMed ID

  • 33687597

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC8670203

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1435-9456

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1435-9448

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1007/s10071-021-01491-7


  • eng