A dog’s brain is more complex than you might think. Although we are genetically closer to chimps, dogs can understand finger pointing better, as chimpanzees have difficulty identifying objects of interest based on gesture. Pet dogs are highly receptive to both verbal and non-verbal communication from the humans in their family. However, recent research from Froniters in Psychology found 80% of untrained, stray dogs successfully followed pointing directions from people to a specific location or object of interest. This result indicates that dogs can understand complex gestures by simply watching humans as a result of 10,000-15,000 years of domestication. Bear that in mind next time you think your dog doesn’t understand you. They are constantly reading and interpreting micro-gestures we may be unaware we are even making in a bid to communicate with and understand us. That’s why we start with visual cues when we are shaping a behaviour.