Puppies are born with the ability to socialize with humans
«The human's best friend» isn't just a platitude.
Is the ability to socialize something dogs learn as they grow up and live with us, or has it become engraved into their genes after millenials of being our favourite companion?
According to a new study published in the journal, Current Biology, the ability to interact with humans is an innate trait. For example, up to 40 per cent of a puppy's ability to communicate with humans lies in their genes.
"The findings indicate that dogs are biologically prepared to communicate with humans," said Emily Bray of the University of Arizona, according to Scimex.org.
Even better service dogs in the future
The researchers studied 375 puppies at eight weeks old. They examined their ability to respond to human signals without prior training, and the results surprised the researchers.
Even before the puppies had left their litter to live with their owners, most of them could find hidden food due to a human pointing them in the right direction.
It might not be a surprise that dogs are programmed to interact with humans. But the confirming findings are still useful. For example, among other things, they can teach us more about why canines have such great potential at becoming successful in serving us as service dogs.
- From an early age, dogs show human-like social abilities deriving from genetic components. This means that these abilities have the potential to undergo selection, says Bray.
Can teach us more about the history of dogs
The research may also contribute to a better understanding of how dogs got domesticated many thousands of years ago.
– Our findings may point to an essential point in the history of domestication. We, the human race, may have selected animals from the wolf population with a higher probability of communicating with our species, which led to the emergence of dogs.
Now the researchers will try to identify the specific genes that contribute to those abilities. In addition, they will follow up with the participating puppies to see if the early experiments can predict something about each dog's potential to become a skilled service dog.