Chances are if you're pointing towards food, your pooch will find it one way or another but have you ever stopped to notice if he follows your gestures in general? According to not one but two recent studies, dogs can comprehend pointing on the same level as a 2-year-old child and require nearly zero learning time to figure out how to follow direction.
The studies also watched dogs follow head-turning, gazing, and pointing using other body parts, and those smarty pups figured it out. The biggest problems for canines and two year olds came with tricky gestures where the protruding arm pointed in a different direction than the finger itself . . . but three year olds mastered all the tests. Even though I was quick to share this news with lilsugar, the scientist points out the need to not generalize:
Any behavioral similarity or similar performance between dogs and children should be investigated separately in each case. Just to give an example for a reverse case: nobody has tried to herd a flock of sheep with 2-year-old (human children).
Point taken, but I've still been testing North at home, and he will look around and seem to follow my cues most of the time — will yours?