Scientific studies are finally starting to catch up with what pet owners have known for a very long time: dogs are pretty smart. In particular, researchers have just discovered that dogs appear to have meta-cognitive abilities. Like humans, they seem to know when they need to go search out more information in order to solve a problem.
Dogs know when they don’t know
Researchers at the DogStudies lab at the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History have shown that dogs possess some “metacognitive” abilities — specifically, they are aware of when they do not have enough information to solve a problem and will actively seek more information, similarly to primates.
Overview of study: The researchers created a test in which dogs had to find a reward — a toy or food — behind one of two fences. They found that the dogs looked for additional information significantly more often when they had not seen where the reward was hidden.