Dogs and Babies Have Similar Responses to Human Communication


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Eye Contact is Part of Communication Between Dogs and Humans

Dogs and Babies Use Eye Contact to Interpret Human Communication. Photo by Joel Telling

It will come as no shock to dog owners to learn that dogs are cued in to human efforts to communicate with them.

What may surprise them, and others, is that dogs respond to communication from people in a way that was previously thought to only occur in humans aged 6 months to 2 years.

The findings in a study published today suggest that the domestication process has resulted in a more complex social connection between dogs and humans than previously understood.

Domestication Changed Dog Communication Patterns

The study from the Family Dog Project at Eotvos Lorand University in Budapest, Hungary was published on January 5, 2012.

This study builds on previous research, which looked at the differences between dogs and wolves raised in exactly the same manner.

That study found that dogs have evolved to communicate differently during their years of domestication.

Dogs are more vocal than wolves and more likely to look at faces for social cues.

In the new study, the investigators used eye-tracking methodology developed for human infant research to measure dogs’ responses to human communication cues and found strong similarities between the way in which dogs and human infants respond.

Click for Page Two: Eye Contact and Voice in Communication with Dogs

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