He is smart in so many ways. He recognises I have a migraine, etc., by smelling my head. He knows when I am going to leave later in the day. He remembers names of people, etc., from many years ago. If I mention something that happened outside, he will recall, and then turn his head exactly to the direction where that happened - including downwards, as we are upstairs. I have never known a dog with such deep spatial and directional awareness. Add that to his amazing sense of smell, which is largely memory, and this guy could find his way back to me from any point on the globe. Not that he would want to, because he is so easilly diverted by nonsense.
About 2:am last night, two guys approached along the sidewalk, while I was out w/ said dog. They were at first afraid of him, because they didn't see me holding the leash. Then they chatted and petted said dog. I was so happy to actually chat with someone, after the 2 ordeal days I had gone through. (Today, I have been suffering CFS repercussions). So, now when I repeat to the dog what the guys had said, he will look towards where they had stopped, and remember. He loves when people stop and pet him, as his whole life is so boring, like mine, compared to living in a more wild state, like maybe Wisconsin.
We recently saw our first skunk here, wobbling along the street at night. I told my dog what this was, and as soon as he was inside, he knew what I meant when I said, "Skunk." (A previous dog, a female psychic Malamute, knew a word the first time you told it to her. But, of course, you'd have to say it a second time to test this out). Other animals we have encountered here: bird, mouse, cat, dog, raccoon, squirrel, rabbit, bug, snake - all being names he knows. I also believe we saw a coyote here, and one in Ye Olde City. Both downtown. Even now, if you say this, some people will determine this is another reason to call you crazy. When - in fact - it is a scientific fact that coyotes are in the cities, due to food habitat and displacement, human too-friendliness, and global warming. Cougars, wild cats, bears, and wolves have also been sighted.
BTW - this sort of dismissal, a kind of objectification, is also practiced in the animal kingdom, where it is used primarilly to rationalise killing and eating.
There is a report that wolves have been shown to display fetching behaviour, something formerly thought to be a trait evolved in dogs. Scientists were stunned. But, people keep forgetting that we are all mammals, and so it is not a great leap for a wolf to understand human cues. Much of the time, it is a matter of a wolf knowing but not being interested. It's the same as in human society: most assholes are idiots, and vice versa, less because of their intelligence and more because they simply avoid the right information, usually through such things as resentment, competition, or HUNGER.
Anyway, another thing is that wolves do play a kind of fetch game in the wild, just like Killer Whales. Humans did not invent games. So, wolves may know, but most are uninterested in playing with humans. however, some litters may be more genetically inclined to do so. And one reason why this may be possible is that there are some acquired dogs genes in the wolves / or - the same fetch genes tapped for dog evolution from wolves also continue to exist in some or many wolves.
This is a great discovery, but it shows how science tend to keep hobbling along in general naivety. Behavioural scientists do not always meld with geneticists, and so forth, across the compartmentalised, grant-funded, clinical field/s.