Posted by: Linda Trunell | October 4, 2013

Friday Fact – The Genius of Dogs

We often take it for granted that a quick point of our fingers, or even feet, can send dogs scampering in the direction of a lost ball or a hidden morsel of food, but this ability is extremely specialized. Even one of our closest relatives, chimpanzees, cannot read our gestures as well as dogs can. In the same way that pre-verbal infants start paying attention to adults when they point, dogs understand that when we gesture, we are trying to cooperate and communicate with them.

flick user hotfield
Photo courtesy of flick user hotfield. 

From The Genius of Dogs by Brian Hare


  1. So true! I often forget how much dogs listen to our body language. I find that even if I use the wrong hand for a signal i.e. use my right hand when I usually do a signal with my left, Malika doesn’t react as fast (or at all!). They are always watching us!!


    • They ARE always watching us! I believe they pay more attention to our body language than our words. Maybe because dogs use body language to communicate with each other, they have become experts at reading ours.



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