dog owners know of it first hand. Here are some real examples of their surprising intellect, starting with the most recent:
Dog trapped in sweltering car honks for help
Gardner ran an errand and took Max with her. When she came home a short time later, she went inside the house, forgetting Max was still in the car. The dog saved his own life by honking the horn to get himself out of a very, very overheated car.
Dog leads police to fire and its injured owner
Buddy and his owner, 23-year-old Ben Heinrichs, were in the family workshop on the Caswell Lakes property April 4 when a heater ignited chemicals.
Heinrichs, who sustained minor flash burns on his face, dashed out as the fire grew. He then told Buddy "we need to get help."
The dog took off and eventually found a trooper responding to a call about the fire. Buddy led the officer through winding back roads to the house and the trooper guided firefighters to the scene.
Dog saves owner from certain death
A 68-year-old violin maker from Zagreb has been saved from certain death after his dog alerted neighbours when he fell into an insulin comma. Krsto Pekic was saved after his dog Rex began banging on the front door and making enough noise for neighbours to hear him. They called police and fire fighters who broke into the apartment and took the unconscious Pekic to hospital.
The dog who saves his owner's life every night
Bernadetta Henry suffers from sleep apnoea, which affects her airways and causes her to stop breathing several times each night. But faithful Boris lies next to the grandmother as she sleeps and carefully monitors her life-threatening condition through the night. The bichon frise listens out for her - and puts his paw on her chest to wake her when her breathing stops.
Dog Saves Owner's Life By Spotting Cancer
Paula Bockman-Chato, of Kellyville, Australia, had first believed that the constant sniffing and nuzzling under her arm by her beloved saluki Kaspar was just the dog being affectionate. But that was until a medical check revealed early signs of lymph node cancer in the very spot that had attracted Kaspar's attention. While Bockman-Chato's story is remarkable, it is not uncommon. Scientific research has now confirmed what was long anecdotally believed -- dogs are highly successful in sniffing out cancer in humans, thanks to their incredible sense of smell.
Dog saves owner by calling 911
Joe Stalnaker adopted German shepherd Buddy as an eight-week-puppy and trained him to use the phone if he began to have an attack. Mr Stalnaker, of Scottsdale, Arizona, has suffered seizures for ten years after suffering a head injury during a military training exercise. So when he got into difficulties, Buddy knew exactly what to do - hit the speed-dial button on the phone for 911. See also a video about Buddy.
Dog saves owner with modified Heimlich
Debbie Parkhurst, 45, of Calvert told the Cecil Whig newspaper she was eating an apple at her home Friday when a piece lodged in her throat. She attempted to perform the Heimlich maneuver on herself but it didn't work. After she began beating on her chest, she said Toby noticed and got involved.
"The next think I know, Toby's up on his hind feet and he's got his front paws on my shoulders," she recalled. "He pushed me to the ground, and once I was on my back, he began jumping up and down on my chest."
Injured Dog Amazes By Taking Self To Vet
The 6-year-old dog, Scooby, ran away from his owners when his collar ring snapped during a recent thunderstorm. As he was running across a road a vehicle hit him, injuring his leg and tail.
Scooby then somehow walked miles to a local animal clinic and was waiting on the doorstep when employees arrived for work.
"He obviously knew this was the place to get help," Scooby's owner Shirley Farris said. "There are subdivisions with hundreds and hundreds of houses between me and the vets office, there are three lanes and there is a mini mall. How he knew to take himself to the vet, I don't know."
People are waiting to help.