Animals

New Study Claims Dogs Can Do Math — And Know When You’re Skimping on Treats

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Every dog owner wishes they could take a peek inside their fur baby’s head to figure out what’s really going on in there. Although we can’t exactly translate what they might be trying to tell us, a new study is claiming canine brains do have a lot more in common with our own minds than we realize.

No, we aren’t talking about a love of treats or playing games. Instead, researchers from Emory University in Georgia have discovered that our pooches actually process numbers in the same way we do. The study looked specifically at whether dogs have something called numerosity, which is the innate ability to understand how many objects we see. It’s something all humans are born with — and apparently our four-legged friends have it, too.

Researchers came to this conclusion after observing 11 pups in an MRI machine. Unlike other tests, they didn’t reward the animals with treats or give them any other training aside from staying still once they were inside the machine. Lauren Aulet, one of the authors of the study, explained in a press release: “We went right to the source, observing the dogs’ brains, to get a direct understanding of what their neurons were doing when the dogs viewed varying quantities of dots.” 

According to their results, the dogs showed the same level of numerosity as us humans. Not only that, but they used the exact same area of their brains that we also use to figure that out. This is on top of previous studies that proved pups are able to tell when numbers don’t add up correctly, like trying to say that one plus one is three.

Basically, this all confirms that your dog really does understand when you give them less treats, toys, or food than usual — so don’t be stingy!

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