Puppies are born with an innate capacity to interact socially with humans

In a study, scientists have found that puppies are born with an innate ability to socially interact with humans without training, and even if they have had almost no interaction with people before.

Emily Bray and 2 relaxed puppies
Emily Bray and 2 relaxed puppies. Photo: Canine Companions.

375 eight-week-old dogs participated in a University of Arizona study in which they demonstrated the ability to understand when a human is talking to them and when they were pointing to an object to where they want the dog to go. Further, puppies “reciprocate the human social gaze” said Emily Bray a researcher at the School of Anthropology. She said: “Most of them are able to find hidden food by following a human point.”

Emily Bray has spent about 10 years doing research with Canine Companions which provides dogs to help the disabled. The study also found that puppies reliably followed human cues to a level which far exceeded expectations based on chance.

On the University of Arizona website, they state that “puppies are wired to communicate with people”. And some dogs perform better than others on social tasks due to their inherited genetics. Dogs’ abilities in this regard are normally shown shortly after birth and before they’ve been trained.

Emily Bray was the lead author and she also said that puppies are biologically prepared to interact in the social ways. The research which has been published in the journal Current Biology concludes that there is a strong genetic component which takes effect from the get-go in terms of a dog’s ability to socially interact with humans.

Source: The Times and the university stated.

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