Do dogs know the consequences of their actions? A new study shows that dogs have “body awareness” and just might understand the consequences of their actions.
Fifty-four dogs were asked to fetch a ball from a mat. In some cases, the ball was attached to the mat so the dogs could not get the ball without getting off the mat. Most dogs understood that and were able to get the ball.
In other cases, the ball was attached to the ground under a mat and the dogs could not retrieve it. In those cases, the dogs recognized that their bodies were not an obstacle to the task, showing self-awareness.
Now, do they feel remorse or understand the consequences of their actions? This research does not study this but we think they do. Grover knows the difference between gnawing apart one of his own toys and one of the kids’ stuffed animals and he much prefers the latter because he’s a naughty dog.