Man's best friend just got better: Dogs can predict and understand human behaviour better than ever, and future generations may not need training
Study finds a dog’s understanding of our minds is increasingly instinctive
Dogs can predict and understand human behaviour better than ever, a new study has found, suggesting future generations of man’s best friend may not need any training at all.
A study by the University of Abertay in Dundee found that a dog’s understanding of our minds is increasingly instinctive, as is the ability to predict the desires and reactions of its human “pack leader”.
The university analysed the behaviour of 24 dogs - some highly trained, some not tutored at all – and found that the level of coaching a dog had received made no difference to its reaction to unspoken commands, such as pointing or nodding for it to change location.
And with selective breeding showing no signs of slowing down, that trend is likely to continue, as more intuitive dogs are encouraged to breed with those of a similar intelligence.
Dr Clare Cunningham, who led the study, said: “We found that training levels didn’t make any difference - no matter how well trained they were, it did not make their ability to pick up cues better or worse.”
She added: “What made the difference was whether they were familiar with the human who was giving the cues… As they get to know particular humans, they pay more attention to them and this may mean they can read and even predict human behaviour with more efficiency as familiarity grows.”
Dr Cunningham went on to say: “If such abilities can be passed on from one generation to the next, then over time we will see them getting better and better and better at predicting human behaviour.”
Concluding the study, which was co-authored by Mari Ramos and published in the Animal Cognition journal, Dr Cunningham added: “Dogs have been selected through the domestication process to accept humans as social partners and as such, are very good at attending to their behaviour”.
She went on: “If such abilities can be passed on from one generation to the next than over time we will see them getting better and better and better at predicting human behaviour.”
- 1 If you're not already angry about the migrant crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
- 2 David De Gea: Manchester United goalkeeper's £29m move to Real Madrid off - because paperwork 'not done in time'
- 3 Pansexual: What is it - and when did the term gain popularity?
- 4 Netherlands to withdraw food and shelter from failed asylum-seekers after just 'a few weeks'
- 5 Blood Moon and Supermoon: September to bring brightest – and dimmest – full Moon of the year on same night
Bono's group has made more money from Facebook investment than from all his music
Nazi 'gold train': Fire engulfs suspected location of vehicle in Poland
Blood Moon and Supermoon: September to bring brightest – and dimmest – full Moon of the year on same night
Isis releases graphic video showing four Shia 'spies' being burned alive in Anbar, Iraq
A Chinese journalist has appeared on state television 'confessing' to causing the stock market chaos
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
Tony Blair attacks Jeremy Corbyn's 'Alice In Wonderland' politics
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up
Iain Duncan Smith 'should resign over disability benefit death figures', says Jeremy Corbyn
UN investigating British Government over human rights abuses caused by IDS welfare reforms
£16 - 18k: Guru Careers: A Trainee Installation Engineer / Field Service Engin...
£22000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Approved NICEIC contractor is l...
£30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are a small IT consultancy business...
£50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is profitable and privately...