Until now it was commonly believed that this useful skill had only evolved in primates, but a new study, published on Wednesday in the US journal ‘Current Biology,' proved self-centered humans wrong again.
The scientists tested 17 dogs using a modified version of the "Do as I Do" method. First, the dogs were trained to imitate human actions on command. For instance, if their owner jumped in the air and then shouted "Do it!" the dogs would jump in the air too. After that, they were re-trained to simply lie down on a blue carpet after any command.
"This way, we substituted their expectation to be required to imitate with the expectation to be required to lie down," said Claudia Fugazza, one of the lead authors of the essay.
Researchers believe the experiment provides enough evidence that dogs have a much more sophisticated memory which has never been proven before to exist in non-human animals.
"The results of our study can be considered as a further step to break down artificially erected barriers between non-human animals and humans," Fugazza wrote in the essay, adding, however, that dogs' memories do seem to fade over time.