The Gifted Dog Research Group

The Gifted Dog Research Group

Most dogs can learn names of actions, such as “sit” or “down”. However, our research found that only a small group of uniquely gifted dogs are able to learn object labels, such as “frisbee” or “rope”. These uniquely Gifted Word Learner (GWL) dogs easily reach a vocabulary of hundreds of object names. Our previous studies have shown that they learn the names of new dog toys extremely rapidly, without formal training, through playful interactions with their owners. They also remember the toy names for long periods of time and spontaneously categorize them.

Our research focuses on three areas; understanding what makes these dogs different from other dogs, how they learn object names and how this compares with human infants, and how does learning words affect their mental representation of their environment.


Our group is led by Prof. Adam Miklosi and Dr. Claudia Fugazza, and includes Dr. Andrea Sommese (postdoctoral researcher), Shany Dror (PhD candidate), Silvia Nostri (visiting MSc student) and Dr. Elodie Jacquse (visiting MSc student).

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