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"Do not choose as I do!" - Dogs avoid the food that is indicated by another dog's gaze in a two-object choice task

By A. Balint, T. Farago, Z. Meike, R. Lenkei, A. Miklosi, P. Pongracz

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Family dogs successfully follow human-given cues in a two-object choice test. However, whether this ability has any roots in dog-dog visual communication, has been seldom investigated. We designed a test where a video-projected, life-sized dog 'demonstrator' provided directional cues for the subjects by turning its head toward one of the two plates containing food. To avoid pseudo-replication, videos of 28 different dogs were recorded as 'demonstrators'. N=60 subjects were tested with a larger, smaller, or equally sized 'demonstrator', using a momentary head-and-gaze turn, while N=15 subjects were tested using sustained demonstrative cues. Social status of the subjects, based on a questionnaire (single-kept, dominant or subordinate), was also taken into account. Our results showed that dogs did not choose between the plates by relying on the momentary head turns of the projected demonstrator ( p=0.35). Social rank did not have any effect on their choices either, however, 'single' dogs showed a left-side preference in their choices ( p=0.03). In the case of momentary gazing, all dogs developed strong side bias depending on their first choices ( p

Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 170
Pages 44-53
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
DOI 10.1016/j.applanim.2015.06.005
Language English
Author Address Department of Ethology, Biological Institute, Eotvos Lorand University, Pazmany Peter s. 1/c, Budapest 1117,
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal behavior
  2. Animals
  3. Canidae
  4. Canine
  5. Carnivores
  6. Dogs
  7. Head
  8. Humans
  9. Mammals
  10. Men
  11. ontogeny
  12. peer-reviewed
  13. Primates
  14. Questionnaires
  15. recording
  16. roots
  17. vertebrates
  18. video recordings
  1. peer-reviewed