Do guide dogs know that their master is blind? © Getty Images

Do guide dogs know that their master is blind?

Not quite a case of the blind leading the blind, but...

Asked by: Pad Scanlon, London


Although all dogs show signs of having ‘theory of mind’, which enables them to grasp the fact that we think differently from them, it’s unlikely that they are capable of extending this to knowing the reason why one person behaves differently to another.

The concept of vision, and therefore the loss of it, is a complex one, so we don’t think dogs have an understanding of what it means to be blind. But, of course, they can learn what things a blind person needs help with, and adjust their behaviour accordingly. Interestingly, studies show that guide dogs will still look to their master’s face for cues when begging for food, just as a sighted person’s dog would.

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