Dogs have Self Awareness, say Researchers

Smell others, but know thyself, doggie. New olfactory-based research has determined that dogs do have self awareness…



The sniff test of self-recognition confirmed: Dogs have self-awareness

A new research study used a sniff-test to evaluate the ability of dogs to recognize themselves. The experiment confirms the hypothesis of dogs’ self-cognition proposed last year.

The experiment confirms the hypothesis of dogs’ self-cognition proposed last year by Prof. Roberto Cazzolla Gatti of the Biological Institute of the Tomsk State University, Russia (Cazzolla Gatti, R. (2016). Self-consciousness: beyond the looking-glass and what dogs found there. Ethology Ecology & Evolution, 28(2), 232-240.).

Dr. Alexandra Horowitz borrowed the pioneering ethological approach, called the “Sniff test of self-recognition (STSR)” proposed by Prof. Cazzolla Gatti in 2016 to shed light on different ways of checking for self-recognition, and applied it to thirty-six domestic dogs accompanied by their owners…

This study confirmed the previous evidence proposed with the STSR by Dr. Cazzolla Gatti showing that “dogs distinguish between the olfactory ‘image’ of themselves when modified: investigating their own odor for longer when it had an additional odor accompanying it than when it did not. Such behavior implies a recognition of the odor as being of or from ‘themselves’.”

The innovative approach to test the self-awareness highlighted the need to shift the paradigm of the anthropocentric idea of consciousness to a species-specific perspective.


Journal Reference: Alexandra Horowitz. Smelling themselves: Dogs investigate their own odours longer when modified in an “olfactory mirror” test. Behavioural Processes, 2017; 143: 17 DOI: 10.1016/j.beproc.2017.08.001