Dogs and humans often communicate with looks. A recent study looked at gaze alteration, the habit of dogs to look at a human, then move their eyes toward a desired object. This behavior was found to be far less common in dogs that live outside or in shelters.
The research showed, however, that shelter dogs can quickly learn it when exposed to humans. These findings help clarify issues in the debate of nature versus nurture. Professor Briseida de Resende says we’re moving toward the view that it makes little sens to separate the two.
- When humans and dogs attempt to communicate often times the dog will perform something called gaze alternation which is locking eyes and then pointing them away towards an object.
- Researchers of a large sample of dogs found those dogs who lived inside performed the gaze alternation more than those that lived outside.
- The key findings of the study indicate that despite all the innate behavior of dogs, much of dog’s actions are based on experience.
“The study was supported by FAPESP via a project to develop an ethological approach to social communication between various species—humans included.”