Even stray dogs can innately interpret complex human gestures

Even stray dogs can innately interpret complex human gestures

Dogs were domesticated 10,000-15,000 years ago , which probably made them the oldest domesticated animals on the planet. This continuous interaction with humans has led to great emotional communication between dogs and humans.

To the point that dogs can understand complex gestures simply by observing humans, innately. This could have implications for reducing conflict between stray dogs and humans.

Stray dogs

Understanding complex human gestures spontaneously, without the need for prior training, is a dog skill, as a new study published in Frontiers in Psychology suggests. In the study, approximately 80% of the participating dogs successfully followed the gestures of targeting a specific location .

The researchers approached solitary stray dogs and placed two covered bowls on the ground near them. Then an investigator pointed to one of the two bowls, either momentarily or repeatedly, and recorded whether the dog approached the indicated bowl. They also recorded the perceived emotional state of the dogs during the experiment .

The dogs that approached the bowls were perceived as friendlier and less anxious. However, it should be noted that the more shy and anxious animals tend not to participate. As Anindita Bhadra from the Indian Institute of Education and Scientific Research in Kolkata explains:

We thought it was quite surprising that dogs could follow such an abstract gesture as momentary pointing. This means that they closely observe the human, whom they meet for the first time, and use their understanding of humans to make a decision. This shows their intelligence and adaptability.

At the moment, future studies are needed to more precisely determine how an individual dog’s personality affects its ability to understand human cues.

We need to understand that dogs are intelligent animals that can coexist with us. They are quite capable of understanding our body language and we need to give them their space. A little empathy and respect for another species can reduce a lot of conflict.