Study: Dogs Understand Our Gestures Better Than Apes

Dogs and humans share a long history dating back 30,000 years. Our beloved four-legged friends are not only our oldest pets, according to studies they are also the ones who can best interpret our gestures and react to them differently than other animals.

The canine language was studied by scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig. The study aimed to find out whether dogs can understand human pointing gestures and other forms of communication. The results show that dogs, in contrast to great apes or wolves, quickly learn to recognize human body language correctly and can also recognize the perspectives of people.

Behavior Anchored in the Genome or Learned?

As tests with puppies have shown, the ability of dogs to understand us humans is embedded in their genes since they have had enough time evolutionarily to get used to human behavior. That is, their understanding of gestures is inherited.

Certain human non-verbal forms of communication and behavior signal them certain requests and dogs orientate themselves more on these than on words. And although they can interpret calls, they mainly react to the gestures of their masters and mistresses.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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