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Puppies born ready to communicate with people

Cosmos: “In a result that won’t come as a surprise to dog lovers, US researchers have found that puppies are born with an innate ability to interact with humans.The team studied eight-week-old puppies to see how they responded to human gestures without much (if any) training by giving 375 dogs the exact same tasks. They found that up to 40% of a puppy’s capacity to interact comes down to its genes. “We show that puppies will reciprocate human social gaze and successfully use information given by a human in a social context from a very young age and prior to extensive experience with humans,” says Emily E. Bray, an animal behaviour researcher at the University of Arizona. “For example, even before puppies have left their littermates to live one-on-one with their volunteer raisers, most of them are able to find hidden food by following a human point to the indicated location.” But this communication only seemed to work when a human initiated it; otherwise, puppies didn’t naturally look to humans to indicate how to find the food. The study, published in the journal Current Biology, found that based on their genetics some puppies have a better innate ability than others to interact with humans, with 40% of the variation in following human gestures explained by inherited genes…”

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