Dogs were domesticated 10,000-15,000 years ago, making them probably the oldest domesticated animals on the planet. This continuous interaction with the human being has been going on for so many years, which is what has undoubtedly led to the fact that there has always been a great deal of emotional communication between dogs and humans.
Innate to dogs, they can understand the most complex gestures simply by observing humans and this may have some implications for reducing the conflict that exists between stray dogs and humans.
Understanding complex human gestures spontaneously, without prior training, is a dog skill, as a new study published in “Frontiers in Psychology” suggests. In that study, approximately 80% of the participating dogs successfully followed the gestures of pointing to a specific location.
The researchers approached to different lonely stray dogs and placed two covered bowls on the ground near them. A researcher then pointed to one of the two bowls, either momentarily or repeatedly, and recorded whether the dog approached the indicated bowl. They also recorded the dogs’ perceived emotional state during the experiment.
The dogs that approached the bowls were perceived as more friendly and less anxious. However, it should be noted that the more shy and anxious animals tended not to participate. According to Anindita Bhadra of the Indian Institute of Education and Scientific Research in Kolkata:
We thought it was quite surprising that dogs could follow such an abstract gesture as pointing at an object momentarily. This means that they (the dogs) look closely at the human, whom they meet for the first time, and use their understanding of humans to make a decision, and this is what demonstrates their intelligence and adaptability.
Future studies are currently needed to determine more closely how an individual dog’s personality affects its ability to accurately understand human signals.
WE HAVE TO UNDERSTAND THAT DOGS ARE INTELLIGENT ANIMALS THAT CAN COEXIST WITH US. THEY ARE PERFECTLY ABLE TO UNDERSTAND OUR BODY LANGUAGE AND WE HAVE TO GIVE THEM THEIR SPACE. A LITTLE EMPATHY AND RESPECT FOR ANOTHER SPECIES CAN REDUCE A LOT OF CONFLICTS.