Can dogs think?

  • Thread starter Jacinta
  • Start date
21
12

Main Question or Discussion Point

So, I was browsing through Youtube, when I stumbled upon this video. It really got me thinking, I was contemplating a lot about life.


This really confuses me. I mean, do dogs even have the ability to have nightmares or the capacity to think? Like I know this sounds kinda dumb, and before you go on a big essay about dogs having brains I know dogs obviously have brains and stuff but i'm wondering if they have the ability to think, if they have a subconscious. To me it just doesn't make sense, what language would they be thinking in anyways? Or is their imagination just visual? But that wouldn't make sense either, because dogs are colourblind. I know dogs are a lot dumber than humans, so they really wouldn't be thinking of anything super complex anyways. Like, maybe only about food and smelling stuff.
 

Answers and Replies

phinds
Science Advisor
Insights Author
Gold Member
15,578
5,227
This really confuses me. I mean, do dogs even have the ability to have nightmares
Based on observation I'd say yes.
or the capacity to think?
same answer

Or is their imagination just visual? But that wouldn't make sense either, because dogs are colourblind.
So you think that people who are colorblind are totally blind. You might want to rethink that.
I know dogs are a lot dumber than humans,
Based on observation, I'd say that's not always true :smile:
 
Last edited:
symbolipoint
Homework Helper
Education Advisor
Gold Member
5,730
979
Dogs think.

Look for "dognition" in an internet search.
 
21
12
Based on observation, I'd say that' not always true :smile:
Yes, like once I knew a girl who thought you had to scrunch up your toes to wear shoes. :wideeyed:
 
21
12
Dogs think.

Look for "dognition" in an internet search.
Is it proven by scientists?
 
symbolipoint
Homework Helper
Education Advisor
Gold Member
5,730
979
Is it proven by scientists?
That depends on whether you accept behaviorists and psychologists as scientists.
 
21
12
That depends on whether you accept behaviorists and psychologists as scientists.
They all have "ist" in the end, so i'll take that as a yes.
 
396
97
Dogs certainly do think. Imagine what it would it take for an AI to come up with this:


When would a dog evolve an instinct like this? The dog would have to use its paws in a totally unnatural and risky way to climb a gate. (Risk for deferred reward.) That moves it in the opposite direction it wants to go, but then it figures it can manipulate the roof to get out. (Visualization in advance, anticipating the behavior of the roof.) And then finally trying to find ways to minimise risk when jumping down.

It can only be planning a series of steps in advance to achieve a goal.

For a time, we humans were rather insecure about the difference between ourselves and animals, and thus chose to disparage anything that animals could do. Today's best computers can win at chess and Jeopardy, but struggle to use video eyes to understand the area around a driverless car. (Translate video into an understanding of physical environment.) Our best computers still struggle with something a fish can do.
 
fresh_42
Mentor
Insights Author
2018 Award
12,104
8,456
I simply do not see why one mammal should have other basic operating capabilities than others. E.g. you can see dogs dream. I mentioned mammals as they all have common ancestors, but it is probably also true for birds and maybe even reptiles. E.g. crows can use tools and they also can lie. The common pattern of life on earth all evolved more or less the same way, i.e. by the same rules and by similar methods.
 
Last edited:
1,512
616
Everything thinks, it's just a measure of how complex the thoughts are. "Thinking" is just patterns of waves moving through neural networks, even worms think. You seem to be asking whether dogs can do abstract thinking, which takes some pretty serious brainpower, but the answer is yes.

The easiest way to test for extremely high levels of intelligence is with a mirror. Dogs understand that the other dog in the mirror is actually them, and also understand that mirrors can be used for non-direct line of sight, which is probably even more complex. I have a set of mirrors on the landing between two half-sets of stairs. It allows us to see downstairs into the kitchen from upstairs and to see the kid's doors from the kitchen. My beagle also uses the mirrors to look for me.
 
DS2C
From personal observation I would say definitely. My dog has a problem with getting into the trash bin if I leave it out. If Im out and about, she wont go near it. But if I walk into my room or outside, she'll bolt to the trash and get into it before I come back. She is very aware of her surroundings and will make decisions based on them. Its pretty impressive actually.
 
phinds
Science Advisor
Insights Author
Gold Member
15,578
5,227
That's hilarious. Thanks for the chuckle.
 
StoneTemplePython
Science Advisor
Gold Member
1,133
537
At the end of every year The Economist has a special double issue with some very expansive coverage. This topic was covered in a long, but very enjoyable (and memorable) article in said double issue 2 years ago. Here's a link:

http://www.economist.com/news/essays/21676961-inner-lives-animals-are-hard-study-there-evidence-they-may-be-lot-richer-science-once-thought

(I think if you're not a subscriber, you can get 2 free articles a month as a guest)

- - - - - - - - - - - -
The fact that this thread is called "Can dogs think?" and OP -- based on avatar-- seems to be a studious cat... seems a bit mischievous.
 
3,377
942
Dogs think, although not in an analytical way like humans.
Most dogs are smart enough to know that if something is attacking, then get ready to defend.
 
symbolipoint
Homework Helper
Education Advisor
Gold Member
5,730
979
From personal observation I would say definitely. My dog has a problem with getting into the trash bin if I leave it out. If Im out and about, she wont go near it. But if I walk into my room or outside, she'll bolt to the trash and get into it before I come back. She is very aware of her surroundings and will make decisions based on them. Its pretty impressive actually.
Dogs think, although not in an analytical way like humans.
Most dogs are smart enough to know that if something is attacking, then get ready to defend.
I knew a dog who went to the door, barked a few times even though nobody was outside there, the human walked from the kitchen to the door (which was at another room), and then dog ran back to the kitchen and took a food item off the table and ran outside through the kitchen door to examine and try eating that food item. You know dnman well that dogs can think.
 
phinds
Science Advisor
Insights Author
Gold Member
15,578
5,227
Dogs think, although not in an analytical way like humans.
Have you been reading this thread???
 
OCR
813
663
45
92
As everyone has been saying dogs do think.

I mean, do dogs even have the ability to have nightmares or the capacity to think?
Researchers have been conducting studies on the complexity of their dreams. https://www.livescience.com/53743-dog-dreams.html Not the best article but I couldn't find the one I wanted.

Or is their imagination just visual?
As you guessed, dogs do think in images. They also recognize familiar smells and can learn to recognize speech patterns (I even had a dog that learned to spell his favorite food in our attempts to not say it).

I also have a dog that is afraid of slippery floors. I believe this shows that she considers the risk of slipping before stepping on an unfamiliar surface.

Based on observation, I'd say that's not always true :smile:
Some of my relatives are a good example. :smile:


I would find it hard to believe dogs are purely stimulus response beings.
 
davenn
Science Advisor
Gold Member
8,898
6,394
I know dogs are a lot dumber than humans, so they really wouldn't be thinking of anything super complex anyways
Really ?? !! .... I don't think so

It can only be planning a series of steps in advance to achieve a goal.
something this dope is incapable of ......


this is going to take a while !! :rolleyes::rolleyes:
 
3,377
942
That is absolute proof that water flows downhill.
I don't think many dogs would dispute it,
 
symbolipoint
Homework Helper
Education Advisor
Gold Member
5,730
979
About that video of the man trying to fill a basket (very leaky) with water,
Some dogs are smart enough to understand this and some are not.
 
So, I was browsing through Youtube, when I stumbled upon this video. It really got me thinking, I was contemplating a lot about life.


This really confuses me. I mean, do dogs even have the ability to have nightmares or the capacity to think? Like I know this sounds kinda dumb, and before you go on a big essay about dogs having brains I know dogs obviously have brains and stuff but i'm wondering if they have the ability to think, if they have a subconscious. To me it just doesn't make sense, what language would they be thinking in anyways? Or is their imagination just visual? But that wouldn't make sense either, because dogs are colourblind. I know dogs are a lot dumber than humans, so they really wouldn't be thinking of anything super complex anyways. Like, maybe only about food and smelling stuff.
Yes, of course they do. My dog Flapjack was particularly attentive and thoughtful. He tried talking once, didn't work well, but a damn good try. He could say "rubber", which was useless. Kind of like Astro from the Jetsons. He clearly understood what we said, nothing complex. Just thing like "I want to sit there" and he'd get up and make room. It is common for dogs to delay eating, like we'd give him a treat when we went out and he'd hang on to it till we got home. And, yeah, he'd have those dreams. He never told anyone what they were about but he had them. The day we brought him home was interesting. He pooped on the carpet. I followed it (plenty of it) and it led right to the bathroom. He had a tennis ball with his name on it. He had placed it on the toilet with his name facing the door. He was a working breed, bred to be smart. The mistake people make is in thinking themselves to be very smart. People regularly over estimate their own intelligence. Flap would never do calculus but then neither do most people. And dogs do count just not very high. More importantly, Flap simply refused to dang where he slept (we except that one accident). It would be raining outside and he'd refuse to dang out of the rain by the porch. He'd insist on going out into the rain, a hundred feet away. I can think of a few people that would dang where the slept both literally and figuratively. The same rules of learning and behavior apply to dogs and people alike. So, yes, dogs do think, dream, delay gratification, learn and understand language. Their needs are simpler. And, here's the thing, it's the owner that go to work, to the store, and bring food home. The dog just waits until the owner brings the food home. So who's the one that is trained here, the dog that gets fed for wagging his tail it the person that does all the work?
 
1,349
90
Dogs certainly do think. Imagine what it would it take for an AI to come up with this:


When would a dog evolve an instinct like this? The dog would have to use its paws in a totally unnatural and risky way to climb a gate. (Risk for deferred reward.) That moves it in the opposite direction it wants to go, but then it figures it can manipulate the roof to get out. (Visualization in advance, anticipating the behavior of the roof.) And then finally trying to find ways to minimise risk when jumping down.
I'd argue that it was simply because that's where it's let out of the cage (door). I really don't think the dog thought ahead of time what might happen. This behaviour looks most similar to "just do it"....and that'd be when it FIRST did it....this vid looks like it's happened before, enough times that the owner set up a cam. there is even a brick on the roof at the corner and lastly none of the other dogs "just did it"....even after seeing it happen....likely multiple times

I think think would need to be defined
 

Related Threads for: Can dogs think?

  • Last Post
3
Replies
52
Views
9K
Replies
55
Views
2K
Replies
30
Views
5K
  • Last Post
Replies
1
Views
1K
  • Last Post
Replies
21
Views
3K
  • Last Post
2
Replies
28
Views
4K
  • Last Post
Replies
21
Views
3K
  • Last Post
Replies
17
Views
3K
Top