ATLANTA — Researchers at Emory University have discovered dogs can count and do not need to be trained to do it, according to a new study.
A dog knows when there are more or fewer objects in their food bowl, just like how a human knows the difference between one or two slices of pizza.
“Our work not only shows that dogs use a similar part of their brain to process numbers of objects as humans do — it shows that they don’t need to be trained to do it,” said Gregory Berns, senior author of the study.
Previous studies on the subject have shown that trained animals can understand numbers, but the new study confirms that most dogs can without being trained.
“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,” a professor said. “That allowed us to bypass the weaknesses of previous behavioral studies of dogs and some other species.”