Understanding people is child's play for dogs
Published 06/01/2012 | 05:00
Dogs respond to human communication in much the same way as very small children, research has shown.
Scientists found that dogs not only pick up on words but also the intent to communicate.
They were more likely to follow the gaze of a person looking at an object after first receiving a signal urging them to pay attention. Six-month-old human infants react in a strikingly similar fashion.
The findings may help explain why so many dog owners treat their pets as children.
Although the results may seem unsurprising to dog owners, they shed light on the way dogs think.
"By following the eye movements of dogs, we were able to get a look at how their minds work," said study leader Dr Jozsef Topal, from the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.