Dogs ‘lost some of their innate skills’
DOMESTIC DOGS may have lost some of their innate animal skills when they came in from the wild, new research suggests.
In a study comparing wolves and dogs living in near-identical environments, wolves were better at working some things out, particularly at grasping the notion of cause and effect. The tests, by an international team at the Wolf Science Center in Austria and published in
involved the animals having to choose between two objects – one containing hidden food and the other empty.
The aim was to see whether the animals could make use of communicative cues, such as direct eye contact and pointing gestures, to choose the correct container.
Dr Juliane Kaminski, of the University of Portsmouth, said dogs and wolves were able to follow cues to find hidden food but in the absence of a human to show them where the food was, only the wolves were able to make causal inferences.