Man’s best friend – a phrase that may just have taken on a whole new level of significance. We can’t always rely on our better halves or even our family members to know what we’re thinking and how we’re feeling, but according to a new study our pet dogs might be doing the job on their behalf.
Researchers from the University of Abertay in Dundee discovered that the ability of dogs to predict both the desires and reactions of its respective owner have increased considerably over time. And it doesn’t all come down to training either – the team looked at a group of dogs with varying levels of tutoring and all were found to react similarly to unspoken commands.
Doggy intelligence is considered such a highly-prized asset these days that selective breeding programs based on intelligence alone are skyrocketing all over the world. As such, the intelligence of dogs is expecting to continue growing at record pace and potentially lead to a future where no obedience training is needed whatsoever.
“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 study leader Dr Clare Cunningham.
“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 behaviour with more efficiency as familiarity grows,”
“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 behaviour,”
“Dogs have been selected through the domestication process to accept humans as social partners and as such, are very good at attending to their behaviour,”
“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 behaviour.”