Brian Hare (with his dog Tassie in the picture), a scientist who studies evolution and cognition, has published a book that I'm definitively going to buy! It's called The Genius of Dogs. Scientific American published a very enjoyable interview with Dr. Hare, that you can read here.
Excerpt (emphasis in bold mine):
Cook: But other animals are intelligent, right? What makes dogs unique?
Hare: Absolutely. Other animals have their own unique genius that was shaped by nature. In the case of dogs it happens to be their ability to read our communicative gestures. We take it for granted that dogs can effortlessly use our pointing gestures to find a hidden toy or morsel of food, but no other species can spontaneously read our communicative gestures as flexibly as dogs can. It allows them to be incredible social partners with us, whether it’s hunting, or agility, or just navigating every day life. Their ability to interpret our gestures also helps them solves problems they can’t solve on their own.
Cook: I see you have created a new website, Dognition. Can you tell me about it?
Hare: Dognition is about helping people find the genius in their dog. The only way to find their genius is to compare them to other dogs who all play the same cognitive games. As I said, different dogs use different strategies to solve problems. Does your dog rely on you to solve problems, or are they more independent? Do they pay attention to where you are looking before they decide to sneak food off the coffee table, or are they unaware when you are watching — making it hard for them to be sneaky?