Monday 23 September 2019

Study suggests dogs are ‘not exceptional’ and owners absolutely aren’t having it

‘No-one asked you, science.’

(Danny Lawson/PA)
(Danny Lawson/PA)

By Alistair Mason, Press Association

It’s a brave person who says something negative about a dog owner’s cherished pet – even if they have the science to back it up.

That’s what the Scientific American discovered when the popular magazine published an article about a study suggesting dogs’ level of intelligence is not exceptional compared with other carnivores and domestic animals.

The research, originally published in the journal Learning And Behavior, led SA to describe puppers as “cognitively quite ordinary” and follow up with a tweet boldly claiming: “Your dog may not be a genius, after all.”

If there’s one thing Twitter isn’t short of it’s dog lovers, and they reacted with the level of calm and reasoned introspection for which internet debate is famous.

Led by the internet’s leading dog appreciation account WeRateDogs, the campaign of mild perturbation was overwhelming.

Some smelled a rat, or possibly a cat.

Others provided strong, some would say irrefutable, evidence to counter the study.

Some clung to the wriggle room of rhetoric.

But for a few dog owners, the study appeared to prove something they already knew.

PA Media

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