It's now official -- dogs steal food when they think we're not looking! Most of us already know this, but a recent study has shown that dogs have elevated their penchant for crime to an art form. Dogs in the study were four times more likely to steal food, and to steal it more quickly, when the food was in a darkened room, even though a human who had told them not to take it was present in the room. This suggests that dogs know when we can see them and when we can't! Apparently dogs possess a form of intelligence called "theory of mind", which is the ability to understand that others have different perspectives, feelings, and knowledge than oneself, and can modify their behaviors based upon this ability.
Once again it all boils down to the realization that dogs know us even better than we thought they did, and probably even better than we know ourselves. Maybe dogs really are geniuses! And not only do they know just the right time to steal, they can also figure out ingenious ways of doing so, as this remarkable beagle demonstrates (the video is a bit slow to reach the climax, so skip ahead to minute 1:55 if you're in a hurry):
(You can also watch the Animal Planet version.)
It really does make you wonder sometimes about who really is in charge when it comes to dogs and their humans!