Clever Dog Lab

The objective of this research is to understand the cognitive and emotional abilities of the domestic dog with respect to Tinbergen’s four questions. The question of phylogenetic origin will primarily be investigated by comparing the dog with its ancestor, the wolf. Here, the influence of domestication plays a central role. The prevalent theory of dog intelligence postulates substantial differences compared to the wolf in the social domain, especially regarding the dogs’ enhanced interspecific understanding and attentiveness to human behaviour. In contrast, it has also been proposed that dogs have undergone a reduction of intelligence in the physical domain and experience lower competence in instrumental (technical) problem solving. However, our latest research findings challenge this claim. The second important issue is that of the ontogenetic development of cognition and emotion, where the focus will be on early development as well as ageing. Finally, we intend to conduct experiments on the specific mechanisms of imitation and empathy, as well as cooperation and gestural and vocal communication, and their functions and adaptive value.

Clever Dog Lab video 1


Overview of the Clever Dog Lab