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The effect of breed selection on interpreting human directed cues in the domestic dog
Linköping University, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, Biology. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
2014 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 180 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

During the course of time, artificial selection has given rise to a great diversity among today's dogs. Humans and dogs have evolved side by side and dogs have come to understand human body language relatively well. This study investigates whether selection pressure and domestication could reveal differences in dogs’ skill to interpret human directional cues, such as distal pointing. In this study, 46 pet dogs were tested from 27 breeds and 6 crossbreeds for performance in the two-way object choice task. Breeds that are selected to work with eye contact of humans were compared with breeds that are selected to work more independently. Dogs of different skull shape were also compared, as well as age, sex and previous training on similar tasks. No significant differences in performance were found between dogs of various age, sex or skull shape. There was a tendency for significant difference in performance if the dog had been previously trained on similar tasks. When dogs that made 100% one-sided choices were excluded, a tendency appeared for there to be a difference between the cooperative worker breeds compared to the other breeds for the time it took for dogs to make a choice. There is a correlation between the number of correct choices made and the latency for the dogs from being release to making a choice (choice latency). All groups of dogs, regardless of my categorization, performed above chance level, showing that dogs have a general ability to follow, and understand, human distal pointing.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. , 17 p.
Keyword [en]
behaviour, dogs, domestication, human pointing, gesture, selection, skull shape
National Category
Behavioral Sciences Biology
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-108847ISRN: LITH-IFM-G-EX—14/2886—SEOAI: diva2:733298
Subject / course
2014-06-05, Linköping, 11:40 (Swedish)
Available from: 2014-07-10 Created: 2014-07-08 Last updated: 2014-11-28Bibliographically approved

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Winnerhall, Louise
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