Do guide dogs know that their master is blind?

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PAD SCAN­LON, LONDON

Al­though all dogs show signs of hav­ing ‘the­ory of mind’, which en­ables them to grasp the fact that we think dif­fer­ently from them, it’s un­likely that they are ca­pable of ex­tend­ing this to know­ing the rea­son why one per­son be­haves dif­fer­ently to an­other. The con­cept of vi­sion, and there­fore the loss of it, is a com­plex one, so we don’t think dogs have an un­der­stand­ing of what it means to be blind. But, of course, they can learn what things a blind per­son needs help with, and ad­just their behaviour ac­cord­ingly. In­ter­est­ingly, stud­ies show that guide dogs will still look to their master’s face for cues when beg­ging for food, just as a sighted per­son’s dog would.

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