Dogs ‘lost some of their in­nate skills’

Yorkshire Post - - NEWS -

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.

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