DOG METACOGNITION EXPERIMENTS

Pekingese Dog - Tabitha 1 2/2021

My dog, Tabitha, has learned to go in the big crate when I ring a low tone to get food and to go in the small crate when I ring a high tone to get the same amount of food. She has also learned that if she goes around the crates she will only get a smaller amount of food. She has also been trained to know that if she goes in the small crate when I ring the low tone, she does not get any food, and that if she goes in the large crate when I ring a high tone, she does not get any food. As the tone I ring is increasingly intermediate between low and high tone, Tabitha increasingly goes around the crates to get the smaller amount of food.


Note: Tabitha always went to the correct crate for difficulty levels 0 and 1.

Assumption: My dog prefers definitely getting some food over the significant chance of not getting any food.


Metacognition Hypothesis: If my dog is aware of her chances of going into the correct crate, as the tone I ring is increasingly intermediate between low and high tone, my dog will increasingly go around the crates to get the smaller amount of food.

(Null Hypothesis: If my dog is not aware of her chances of going into the correct crate, as the tone I ring is increasingly intermediate between low and high tone, my dog will not increasingly go around the crates to get the smaller amount of food.)

Conclusion: Though many more trials are needed, Tabitha’s behavior is suggestive of metacognition, i.e. that she is aware that she does not know which crate to go into when she does not, and is also aware of how likely it is that she will choose the correct crate. However, see criticisms.