Great points in this story, and not just in the comment section..I really do love pet humor.
For the study, Kaminski and her colleagues compared how well chimpanzees and dogs understood human pointing. The person pointed at a visible object out of reach of the human but within reach of the animal subject. If the chimp or dog retrieved the object, he or she would be rewarded with a tasty food treat. (Chimps received fruit juice or peanuts, while dogs got dry dog food.)
The chimps bombed, ignoring the human gestures, even though they were interested and motivated to get the food rewards. The dogs aced the test.
The chimpanzees failed to comprehend the referential intention of the human in the task. They did not see the pointing as important to their goal of getting the food, so they simply ignored the people during the study. “We know that chimpanzees have a very flexible understanding of others,”
Kaminski said. “They know what others can or cannot see, when others can or cannot see them, etc.” Chimps are therefore not clueless, but they have likely not evolved the tendency to pay attention to humans when trying to achieve goals. Kaminski explained that even wolves do not have this skill.
“Wolves, even when raised in a human environment, are not as flexible with human communication as dogs,” she said. “Dogs can read human gestures from very early ages on.”