Apparently the ties that exist between humans and dogs are much closer than we had thought.
|Dogs understand humans.|
Dogs are considered man's best friend, but it seems we are much more connected to them than we thought, at least that is what researchers in India recently discovered.
Dogs were domesticated 10,000-15,000 years ago, which probably made them the oldest domesticated animals on the planet.
Humans then raised dogs with the most desirable and useful traits so they could function as partners and workers, leading to domesticated dogs that are very receptive to human orders and gestures.
However, it was not clear if dogs understand us through training alone, or if this was innate.
Can dogs interpret a signal, such as a gesture, without specific training, or even without having previously known the person making the signal? One way to find out is to see if untrained stray dogs can interpret and react to human gestures.
Stray dogs are a common feature in cities around the world and particularly in many developing countries. While they can observe and occasionally interact with people, such dogs have never been trained and are behaviorally "wild."
Conflicts between stray dogs and humans are a problem and understanding how humans shape the behavior of stray dogs can help alleviate this.
Our bond with dogs is strong.
Many human beings see dogs as the best thing that could have happened to mankind and that is because they are faithful companions and great friends in life, but if there is something we didn't know until recently, it is that dogs can understand human beings even if they have never had contact with one in their entire lives.
The study that made this known was conducted in India by Dr. Anindita Bhadra of the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research Kolkata.
In this study they began to observe the attitude of stray dogs to their first approaches to human beings.
Dogs understand complex human gestures naturally.
These dogs that had never had contact with humans and therefore had never been trained, managed to understand simple human behaviors, following orders by observing the movements of humans.
That is, a human put two plates of food, and pointed to only one of these two plates. 80% of the dogs that came to eat ate from the plate that was being pointed at by the human and not from the other one.
That alone demonstrates a level of intelligence that these animals were not thought to have, making them friends with man even though they have not even had contact with him.
Honestly, it's a study we didn't know we needed but now that we know, we can't stop thinking about it for a long time. If non-domesticated dogs could understand this gesture, what else do they understand that we are not aware of?
The research, published in Frontiers in Psychology, revealed that approximately 80% of participating dogs successfully followed the gestures of pointing to a specific location despite never having received prior training.
The results suggest that dogs can understand complex gestures simply by observing humans and this could have implications for reducing the conflict between stray dogs and humans.