There’s more to it than just growing up and evolving together. “It looks like dogs really do understand what we are trying to tell them, they are thinking about what we want, and they understand that we are trying to communicate,” said Brian Hare of Harvard University. A study was conducted by Hare comparing dogs, puppies, wolves and chimpanzees’ ability to understand human communication methods. Since wolves have bigger brains than dogs, it was thought they would do better, and since chimpanzees are biologically closer to humans, it was thought they would do best.
The dogs surprised scientists by doing much better than wolves or chimpanzees, and even puppies as young as 9 weeks old outperformed them as well.
“Dogs have a talent for reading social cues in a very sophisticated way,” Hare said.