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Funmilayo Sokabi
Dr. Lynda Haas
Writing 39C
10 May 2015
A Historical Review of the Domestication and Ethical Treatment of Canine Companions
As long as they have been our companions, humans have underestimated the intelligence
and qualities that we share with our canine counterparts. In this essay, I will delve into the
consciousness, intelligence, self-awareness, ability to mourn and their ability to love. The history
of the domestication of canines begins with Charles Darwinsbest known for his theory of
evolution and natural selection 19th century discovery of canine domestication and continues
through the realization of their intelligence and consciousness according to Kathy Rudy, a well
known advocate for the ethical treatment of animals and author of Loving Animals, defines . The
review begins with an overview of the domestication of canines and their consciousness, being,
their ability to self-recognize, mourn, love and display loyalty. These humanistic capabilities,
demonstrated in the following researchers works allows a segue into the ethical treatment of
canines. This review will then focus on the canines abilities to aid and assimilate to the needs of
their human companions. In the body paragraphs, this review will be discussing the many
humanistic capabilities that humans often tend to dissociate canids with when it comes to
intelligence. In the concluding section, I hope to explore the connection between the lack of
knowledge humans have on canines humanistic behaviors and their lack of ethical treatment of
their domestic companions.
Stanley Coren, well known scientist and psychology professor at the University of British
Columbia, researched canine intelligence. Specifically, Coren focuses on three specific types of

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canine intelligence: instinctive, adaptive and working and obedience intelligence (Coren). The
research Coren preformed mainly focused on the different types of intelligence canines are
capable of and the human-canine bond that drives canines to be so loyal to humans. In order to
collect his research Coren sent out surveys to all dog obedience judges in the United States and
Canada to measure obedience intelligence. Coren also observed the type of personalities of
canine companions in correlation to the type of companions they chose. The type of data
provided was also backed by the studies of Brian Hare.

Brian Hare, director of the Duke Canine Cognition Center and co-author of The Genius
of Dogs, focused on canine cognition and the interior lives of our smartest pets (Hare). Hare
research specifically focused on the problem solving abilities of primate and non-primate
animals throughout the last 40,000 years of evolution and self-domestication of canines. The
anthropological research performed by Hare was conducted in Dukes Canine Cognition Center
where canines were brought by their human companions and were asked to participate in
problem solving games in order to measure intelligence and the possibility of the loss of
intelligence when dealing with the domestication of the canine. Unlike Corens research, Hares
research focused on the intelligence canines have developed and how humans may have
inhibited their ability to enhance their intelligence.The research Hare proposes to humanize dogs
rather than keep them in a box that inhibited most of their capabilities. In an interview with the
Duke ChronicleDuke Universitys newspaper, Hare was asked the main component of his
research when the DCCC first was opened and he answered trust (Spini 2010). The goal of the
study was to find out why dogs are so willing to trust human beingsa trait humanoids often
feel belong solely to themand concluded that dogs find it necessary to have social bonds.

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Donald Griffin, who specializes in the animal consciousness and well known professor of
zoology, argued that animals are conscious beings similar to humans. Griffin, considered founder
of animal mentality, segued the beginning research for intelligence and cognition of animal
mentality. Griffin insisted that scientist should focus more on the development of the animal
psyche and how these animals should be looked at with precision. In 1978, Griffin began
research on how animals think and their humanlike behaviors. In his publication, Animal
Minds:Beyond Cognition to Consciousness, Griffin explores the scientific realms of the
conscious animals and how conscious animals enjoy the advantage of being able to think about
alternative actions and select behavior they believe will get them what they want or help them
avoid what they dislike or fear (Griffin). Much like human beings animals adapted cognitive
capabilities in order to survive and humans often lack the ability to observe the animals
adaptions to survive. Griffin goes on to compare human conscious capability with animal
capability hoping to display a correlation that
in some ways are very similar (as shown in
Figure 1). Mentioned on multiple occasions by
Kathy Rudy, professor of Womens Studies,
Griffins study on animal cognition allows an
illustration of the ability for canines to have
developed human like capabilities allowing them to be more intelligent than most humanoids
tend to believe. Griffin believed that animals had the ability to be self aware, to think and to
show emotion. Much like Jeffrey Krugers line of work, Griffin wanted to prove that animals
were capable of the abilities humans often overlooked.

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Jeffery Kluger, author of the TIME article Animal Minds, delved deeper into Griffins
research of animal cognition and found that animals are capable of way more than just cognition,
but also experiencing grief, being able to build social groups, intelligence, communication and
much more capabilities that humans presumptuously thought were restricted to the human
species. Kluger focuses on the human like equalities that make animals, more comparable, to
human beings therefore showing humans the necessary requirement of ethical treatment of these
animals. Kluger than put himself in the heart of his research by researching an ape named Kanzi.
Kanzi was able to identify words using pictures that he felt demonstrated the word and therefore
proved intelligence in animals that we thought have long forgotten how to communicate.
Through his studies Kluger proved the capabilities of animals by observing these animals in their
natural habitat doing things humans would write off as strange animal behavior. Kluger observed
these animals creating tools as a means to survive and using these tools in ways humans would
had they been given the capability to construct these tools if they were not already handed to
them. Kluger also found that animals are able to communicate. Often we assume animals are just
able to understand us, but in semiotic research such as Griffins it was found that animals are
able to develop their own type of communication. This communication came in many forms such
as barking and echolocation. Kluger proved that animals, specifically canines, were often in
communication using things like social cues and gesturical cues, often missed by their human
companions. We assumed that more than likely they understood us when in reality they were
observing the cues we often gave. An example of this behavior is Clever Hans, the horse who
was thought to be exceptionally good at math, but was later found to be a fraud. Hans would be
cued by his trainer to solve a mathematical problem, unbeknownst to Hans trainer, Hans was

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just able to read the body language of his trainer that seemed to tense up whenever Hans
approached the answer that seemed fitting to the mathematical question Hans was asked.
In conclusion, the research of these scientists aided in proving the cognition and
intelligence of animals which made them seem to be more than just companions or animals that
weve claimed as property. The actuality of the situation is that animals hold more value to us
than food or just common house pets. With this being said and learned it then begs the question
of why, if animals are so intelligent, are they treated as bottom of the totem pole animals? Why
has human kind commodified animals and turned them into their own special domesticated
slaves?

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