Puppies are wired at birth to communicate with people

Some people believe that a dog’s ability to understand what a person means when they point at something is learned in adulthood through interaction with people. However, a group of researchers at the University of Arizona School of Anthropology in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences has illustrated that this is not true.

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What they did find out is that while puppies are born with an understanding of human physical and verbal cues, they were not able to initiate help from people for unsolvable problems. This ability comes with experience after interacting with people.

The lead researcher, Emily Bray has spent the last decade studying the puppies bred for service dog work at Canine Companions. Bray feels that if they can understand how dogs think and solve problems, they will be able to better identify those puppies that will make better service dogs.     

The researchers noted that the dogs who become successful service dogs respond to people differently than those who are not successful. Because the researchers are able to study the genetics of the puppies in the test, they hope to identify the genes that cause these traits in puppies. This will enable them to predict the potential for service work even before the puppies are born.

Dogs try to communicate with angry humans

Animal behavior researchers from the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, and the University of Lincoln, UK found that dogs will mouth-lick in response to photos of human faces that appeared to be angry. The researchers also let the dogs hear angry human voices and did not see the same mouth-licking behavior. This indicates that dogs are responding to visual stimuli and that they recognize the emotional expressions of human faces. The fact that the dogs tested did not respond the same way to pictures of other dogs indicates that mouth-licking is a way that dogs try to communicate to humans.

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This is an interesting study because it shows us that dogs do use visual clues as well as their other senses to respond to humans. The fact that they only responded to humans shows that they have specific ways to try to communicate with humans.

With studies such as this one, we learn more about the emotional lives of dogs as well as the unique ways that they attempt to communicate with us. It also indicates that they care about their relationship with humans since this behavior is evident in all if not almost all dogs.