Who among us has not been stepped on by a dog who seemed completely unaware that her paws were on our feet? So many dogs do this that it’s hard to guess what kind of general body-awareness dogs have.
A recent study, “That dog won’t fit: body size awareness in dogs,” looked into this very question and found evidence that dogs do indeed have an awareness of their own body. Essentially, the scientists asked if dogs understand their body as an object of a particular size. If so, they should react differently to wall openings of different sizes.
As the researchers predicted, dogs’ responses to openings that were too small for them to pass through were different than their responses to openings that were large enough. Much of the study involved comparing the time it took dogs to approach the different-sized openings.
The dogs were tested on three sizes: smaller than their body;…