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Jaida VanDunk
Lynda Haas
Writing 37
January 30, 2015
Critical Reading Review
The saying goes, a dog is a mans best friend. Over the years, as the
relationship between domesticated canines and humans have developed, this statement has
proven to be generally true, and we are starting to understand this connection between dogs and
humans more and more every day. Dogs of are extremely capable of so much more that the
human population initially realized when dogs were first domesticated, and now we are working
to find out exactly how far the knowledge of a canine goes and why they are the way they are
with humans. Brian Hare goes into depth about the relationship between humans and dogs and a
dogs understanding of us in the book The genius of Dogs: Dogs are smarter than you think,
where he focuses a lot on a dogs capability to speak with humans. Leslie Irvine also goes into
depth on her own interpretation of the relationship between a human and a dog and why these
relationships are formed .A more fictional representation of the capability of dogs is shown in the
comic We3, written and illustrated by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely. We3 exhibits the
authors own take on the relationship between humans and dogs while also displaying the focus
and skill of the canine character in comparison to the storys other animal characters bond with a
human from the dogs perspective are reflective of dogs in real life. These sources provide both
factual and fictional explanations of a dogs developing relationship with humans and their
capability concerning intelligence and knowledge.

Although We3 is a fictional source, the comic is a great representation of a


dogs intelligence and desire to have a bond with humans and have a family or pack. The story
revolved around 3 animal characters (a dog, cat, and rabbit) that were scientifically altered into
war machines. Out of the 3 animals, the dog, Bandit, was the one to keep them all together.
Throughout the story you could see Bandits desire for human affection; he would frequently
refer to home and was more sympathetic to humans than the other animals. When he
encountered Dr. Berry, one of the scientists responsible for transforming the animals, the dog
was still sympathetic towards her even though she put him through pain and experimentations.
When the animals were approached by the homeless man, Bandit immediately sensed the good
in the man while the others were skeptical, and because of the bond that Bandit desired with the
human man, he found a home in the man for him and the cat. The reasons for this fictional bond
that is reflective of the real life bond between humans and dogs today is being researched along
with the research of a dogs capabilities.
Do Dogs Understand Our Words? Brian Hare poses this question in
chapter 6 of The Genius of Dogs: Dogs are Smarter than you think and continues to describe
an experiment where scientists would have dogs learn the name of a certain toy and retrieve that
toy. The experiment developed further when scientists had the dogs retrieve toys from a certain
category of a toy, and they found that the dogs were still successful when doing this, proving that
dogs, in fact, are capable of learning and understanding human word the same way and infant
might. While researching the topic of canine cognition myself, I found that dogs are not only
capable of voice signals; they are capable of visual signals as well, such as hand signals.
A lot of the experiments that Hare describes are more game-like
exercises that scientists and owners play with dogs to see how they respond, but a new

development in research includes using fMRI scanners to see the dogs brain when they are
receiving these hand signals, and seeing how the brain reacts. The scientists found that the dogs
brain would light up when they saw a hand signal that meant that they were about to be rewarded
with food, rather than when they saw a hand signal that didnt signal food. This research, again,
concluded that dogs do understand human communication on multiple levels. This research on a
dogs capability to communicate with humans is so important because further development in this
research will help give canine cognition researchers a better understanding of the human-dog
relationship. While past studies have assumed that dog cognition has developed over years of
natural development and domestication, recent studies are actually starting to say that dog
cognition has developed through human interaction.
In Leslie Irvines, If You Tame Me: Understanding Our Connection with
Animals, Irvine goes more into depth on her own opinions of the human-dog relationship,
saying that, several biological and behavioral factors predisposed dogs to fit easily within
human groupsThere are several months during which, given sufficient contact, puppies can
form attachments to humans. (Irvine 15) She continues to say how this connection is unusual
compared to other animals, like horses, which do not form bonds with humans so quickly. In
relation to Bandits character in We3, Irvine also says how dogs relate to humans as litter mates
and pack members. Similar how to Bandit felt about the other characters of the story.
Dog cognition, or dognition, is the study of canines capabilities and their
relationships with humans. Research has developed more and more over the years, as shown in
Leslie Irvine and Brian Hares works. The new developments and understanding of a dogs
connection with a human is also represented fictionally in the comic We3. All sources exhibit a

clear understanding of a dogs mind, something that is still being researched for an even better
understanding.

Bibliography
Irvine, Leslie. If You Tame Me: Understanding Our Connection with Animals. Philadelphia:
Temple UP, 2004. 12-32.
Hare, Brian. The Genius of Dogs: Dogs Are Smarter Than You Think. N.p.: Plume, 2013. 12544. Print.
Morrison, Grant, and Frank Quitely. "We3." Cartoon. N.p.: Vertigo, 2014. Print.