The domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris or Canis familiaris is a domesticated canid which has been selectively bred for millennia for various behaviors, sensory capabilities, and physical attributes. Although initially thought to have originated as a man-made variant of an extant canid species (variously supposed as being the dhole, golden jackal, or gray wolf, extensive genetic studies undertaken during the 2010s indicate that dogs diverged from an extinct wolf-like canid in Eurasia 40,000 years ago. Being the oldest domesticated animal, their long association with people has allowed dogs to be uniquely attuned to human behavior, as well as thrive on a starch-rich diet which would be inadequate for other canid species.
Dogs perform many roles for people, such as hunting, herding, pulling loads, protection, assisting police and military, companionship and, more recently, aiding handicapped individuals. This impact on human society has given them the nickname “man’s best friend” in the Western world. In China and South Vietnam dogs are a source of meat for humans.
Dog intelligence is the ability of the dog to perceive information and retain it as knowledge for applying to solve problems. Dogs have been shown to learn by inference. A study with Rico showed that he knew the labels of over 200 different items. He inferred the names of novel items by exclusion learning and correctly retrieved those novel items immediately and also 4 weeks after the initial exposure. Dogs have advanced memory skills.
A study documented the learning and memory capabilities of a border collie, “Chaser”, who had learned the names and could associate by verbal command over 1,000 words. Dogs are able to read and react appropriately to human body language such as gesturing and pointing, and to understand human voice commands. Dogs demonstrate a theory of mind by engaging in deception. A study showed compelling evidence that Australian dingos can outperform domestic dogs in non-social problem-solving experiment, indicating that domestic dogs may have lost much of their original problem-solving abilities once they joined humans.
Another study indicated that after undergoing training to solve a simple manipulation task, dogs that are faced with an insoluble version of the same problem look at the human, while socialized wolves do not. Modern domestic dogs use humans to solve their problems for them.
Dog behavior is the internally coordinated responses (actions or inactions) of the domestic dog (individuals or groups) to internal and/or external stimuli. As the oldest domesticated species, with estimates ranging from 9,000–30,000 years BCE, the minds of dogs inevitably have been shaped by millennia of contact with humans. As a result of this physical and social evolution, dogs, more than any other species, have acquired the ability to understand and communicate with humans and they are uniquely attuned to our behaviors. Behavioral scientists have uncovered a surprising set of social-cognitive abilities in the otherwise humble domestic dog. These abilities are not possessed by the dog’s closest canine relatives nor by other highly intelligent mammals such as great apes. Rather, these skills parallel some of the social-cognitive skills of human children.
Dog communication is about how dogs “speak” to each other, how they understand messages that humans send to them, and how humans can translate the ideas that dogs are trying to transmit. These communication behaviors include eye gaze, facial expression, vocalization, body posture (including movements of bodies and limbs) and gustatory communication (scents, pheromones and taste). Humans communicate with dogs by using vocalization, hand signals and body posture.