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Dogs Have Innate Ability to Predict Human Behavior

Update Date: Dec 16, 2013 03:38 PM EST
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Many dog owners insist that they have a special connection with their pets, and that their pets know just how they feel and what they're thinking. However, a new study reveals that this "connection" may not be so exclusive after all.

Researchers found that dogs are born with the ability to understand humans. The study also found that dog's ability to understand humans does not depend on training.

Researchers explain that this innate ability is a result of breeding and genetic selection. This ability to understand humans will only become more advanced in the future, according to researchers.

 The latest study involved 24 dogs, ranging from highly trained to the totally untrained. Researchers monitored how the fogs reacted to people's unspoken commands like pointing at a location for the dog to move to. The findings revealed that dogs' training levels made no difference to their responsiveness.

"We found that training levels didn't make any difference - no matter how well trained they were, it did not make their ability to pick up cues better or worse," said lead researcher Dr. Clare Cunningham said in a press release. "What made the difference was whether they were familiar with the human who was giving the cues."

"As they get to know particular humans, they pay more attention to them and this may mean they can read and even predict human behavior with more efficiency as familiarity grows," added Cunningham. "If such abilities can be passed on from one generation to the next, then over time we will see them getting better and better and better at predicting human behavior."

"Dogs have been selected through the domestication process to accept humans as social partners and as such, are very good at attending to their behavior," she concluded. "If such abilities can be passed on from one generation to the next than over time we will see them getting better and better and better at predicting human behavior."

The findings are published in the journal Animal Cognition.

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