Dogs, Canis familiaris, communicate with humans to request but not to inform

Juliane Kaminski*, Martina Neumann, Juliane Braeuer, Josep Call, Michael Tomasello

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Dogs are especially skilful at comprehending human communicative signals. This raises the question of whether they are also able to produce such signals flexibly, specifically, whether they helpfully produce indicative ('showing') behaviours to inform an ignorant human. In experiment 1, dogs indicated the location of an object more frequently when it was something they wanted themselves than when it was something the human wanted. There was some suggestion that this might be different when the human was their owner. So in experiment 2 we investigated whether dogs could understand when the owner needed helpful information to find a particular object (out of two) that they needed. They did not. Our findings, therefore, do not support the hypothesis that dogs communicate with humans to inform them of things they do not know. (C) 2011 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)651-658
Number of pages8
JournalAnimal Behaviour
Volume82
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2011

Keywords

  • Canis familiaris
  • communication
  • dog
  • helping
  • showing behaviour
  • social cognition
  • ORANGUTANS PONGO-PYGMAEUS
  • POINTING GESTURES
  • DOMESTIC DOGS
  • HUMAN INFANTS
  • WOLVES
  • PERSPECTIVE
  • COMPREHENSION
  • SENSITIVITY
  • CHIMPANZEES
  • COGNITION

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