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 Fifty Shades of Grey trailer released: First look at Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey
- 2 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
- 3 50 books for students to read this summer: From Ernest Hemingway to Gillian Flynn
- 4 Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
- 5 Rebecca Hall on her film career so far: ‘I’ve played too many repressed neurotics’
Israel-Gaza conflict: Israeli targeting policy under scrutiny after shellfire hits a mother and child, a school full of refugees and a doctor’s home
Peaches Geldof: Her final day – and her fatal decision
Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
Iraq crisis: Isis orders Mosul shop keepers to cover mannequins
Israel-Gaza conflict: Israel may have committed war crimes, says UN human rights chief
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia
£40000 - £45000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...
Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Service Delivery Manager - (Derivatives, Support...
£30000 - £55000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Technical Account Manager - Java,...
£300 - £350 per day: Harrington Starr: WPF Analyst Programmer NET, WPF, C#, M...