Learning & Behavior

, Volume 39, Issue 4, pp 318-323

First online:

Reevaluating canine perspective-taking behavior

  • Monique A. R. UdellAffiliated withDepartment of Social Sciences, Flagler CollegeDepartment of Psychology, University of Florida Email author 
  • , Clive D. L. WynneAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, University of FloridaKyung Hee University


Udell, Dorey, and Wynne (2011) demonstrated that both domesticated and nondomesticated canids—specifically, gray wolves—have the capacity to succeed on perspective-taking tasks, suggesting that dogs’ ability to respond to the human attentional state is not a by-product of domestication alone. Furthermore, not all dogs were successful on the task. Instead, the occluder type used was a strong predictor of performance, indicating the important role of environment and experience for tasks of this type. Here, we address several commentaries reflecting on the methods and design of that study, as well as the interpretation of the results. We also discuss the positive shift toward more interactive approaches in the field of canine behavior and cognition. Finally, we question the functionality of describing canine social behavior in terms of theory of mind.


Wolves Dogs Canis lupus familiaris Canis lupus Perspective taking Social cognition Theory of mind Domestication Learning Two-stage hypothesis