before reading, I recommend watching this, NOVA | How Smart Are Dogs? if you dont want to watch it, here is a summary- dogs are very smart, and because they are evolved to pay atention to humans, it also makes them easy to study, and teach, because they cooperate with us. so how smart can dogs be? can they be on a civilized level before we even encounter any alien race that is? humans have many traits that enable us to be smart other than our mere brain power. here are some examples: humans have amazing hand dexterity not found in many other animals. this allows us to manipulate our enviroment, and learn from it. Other animals that can manipulate their enviroment on a large scale or use tools, are beavers, primates, and many insects humans are bipedal, meaning we can use our hands for things while moving. only primates really have this ability but i think there are some close animals, like bears? humans has poor senses, but our brains are able to interpret those senses on a much more complex level, for example, there is a nerve that blocks our vision, but we dont see it because our brain creates an image over it based on what it thinks is supposed to be there. humans also have fine tuned vocals so we can make words. birds can also do this. humans have many good traits other than just our brain that can help us. but what about dogs? consider a dogs sense of smell. their sense of smell is so fine tuned, that they can smell cancer in urine, chemicals in parts per billion, they can distinguish identical items by slightly different smells (from stuff on them) dogs also show aptitude for problem solving, and the ability to understand words. imagine a dog lab assistant who can bring the scientist ANY chemical he wanted, just by memorizing the smell. imagine if this dog could be taught which chemicals mixed together will result in which chemicals. imagin if dogs could be trained to train other dogs. dogs could pody train eachother, becasue they can identify which dog the urine/feces belongs to, and punish them. dogs already learn from eachother, why not more? dogs of coarse have many handicaps that make it difficult for them to be like humans. like not being able to talk. but just as humans overcome their own weaknesses with technology, can dogs also do the same with the help of humans? can we selectivly breed dogs into the next inteligent race?