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The effects of human attentional state on canine gazing behaviour: a comparison of free-ranging, shelter, and pet dogs.

08:00 EDT 7th September 2019 | BioPortfolio

Summary of "The effects of human attentional state on canine gazing behaviour: a comparison of free-ranging, shelter, and pet dogs."

The ability of animals to communicate using gaze is a rich area of research. How domestic dogs (Canis lupus familiaris) use and respond to the gaze of humans is an area of particular interest. This study examined how three groups of domestic dogs from different populations (free-ranging dogs, pet dogs, and shelter dogs) responded to a human during three attentional state conditions: when the human was making eye contact (attentive), when the human was turned away (inattentive), and when the human exited the testing area. We found that dogs from different populations differed in their gazing behaviour. Free-ranging dogs responded to the human's change in attentional state by looking significantly less at the human in the inattentive condition compared to the attentive condition. Pet and shelter dogs did not differ in their gazing behaviour between these conditions. However, they gazed significantly more at the human in both the inattentive and attentive conditions compared to the free-ranging dogs and also spent more time in the proximity of the experimenter. This study suggests that life experience plays an important role in how dogs respond to the attentional state of a human.

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This article was published in the following journal.

Name: Animal cognition
ISSN: 1435-9456
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