Dr. Anindita Bhadra of the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research Kolkata, India, and colleagues studied stray dogs across several Indian cities to determine if dogs can understand human cues without training.
They found that stray dogs that were not timid or shy, would respond to a strange human pointing to a bowl. If the dog was friendlier and less anxious, they approached the bowls that the tester pointed to about 80% of the time. This shows that the dogs not only recognized human body language but are able to understand complex gestures.
What the researchers were unable to tell is how much experience the stray dogs had with humans and was it positive or negative. Also unknown is if people had fed the dogs in the past, using a pointing motion to indicate that there was food available.
The study does mention that more research is needed to determine if the personality of the dog is a factor in their response to human pointing. But all in all, it is another piece of information that gives us insight into the mind of the dog.