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What a clever boy!

By BEN SPENCER Time of article published Dec 30, 2013

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London - As they gaze up at us, our pet dogs often seem to know just what we’re thinking.

And their position as man’s best friend is getting stronger all the time – because their ability to understand and predict human behaviour is actually growing with each generation, according to animal psychologists.

A study from the University of Abertay in Dundee shows that a dog’s ability to understand humans is innate and does not depend on training. It is a result of breeding and genetic selection, so it will only get more advanced in the future.

Scientists observed how 24 dogs, ranging from the highly trained to the totally untrained, reacted to people’s unspoken commands, such as pointing at a location for the dog to move to. They found the dogs’ training levels made no difference to their responsiveness. Dr Clare Cunningham, who led the study published in the journal Animal Cognition, said: “What made the difference was whether they were familiar with the human who was giving the cues.

“As they get to know particular humans, they pay more attention to them and this may mean they can read and even predict human behaviour with more efficiency as familiarity grows.”

She added: “If such abilities can be passed on from one generation to the next, then over time we will see them getting better and better and better at predicting human behaviour.” - Daily Mail

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