Animal Cognition

, Volume 18, Issue 2, pp 475–483 | Cite as

Do dogs follow behavioral cues from an unreliable human?

  • Akiko Takaoka
  • Tomomi Maeda
  • Yusuke Hori
  • Kazuo Fujita
Original Paper

Abstract

Dogs are known to consistently follow human pointing gestures. In this study, we asked whether dogs “automatically” do this or whether they flexibly adjust their behavior depending upon the reliability of the pointer, demonstrated in an immediately preceding event. We tested pet dogs in a version of the object choice task in which a piece of food was hidden in one of the two containers. In Experiment 1, Phase 1, an experimenter pointed at the baited container; the second container was empty. In Phase 2, after showing the contents of both containers to the dogs, the experimenter pointed at the empty container. In Phase 3, the procedure was exactly as in Phase 1. We compared the dogs’ responses to the experimenter’s pointing gestures in Phases 1 and 3. Most dogs followed pointing in Phase 1, but many fewer did so in Phase 3. In Experiment 2, dogs followed a new experimenter’s pointing in Phase 3 following replication of procedures of Phases 1 and 2 in Experiment 1. This ruled out the possibility that dogs simply lost motivation to participate in the task in later phases. These results suggest that not only dogs are highly skilled at understanding human pointing gestures, but also they make inferences about the reliability of a human who presents cues and consequently modify their behavior flexibly depending on the inference.

Keywords

Dog Dog–human interaction Selective trust Pointing Object choice task 

References

  1. Adachi I, Kuwahata H, Fujita K (2007) Dogs recall their owner’s face upon hearing the owner’s voice. Anim Cogn 10:17–21PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Behne T, Liszkowski U, Carpenter M, Tomasello M (2012) Twelve-month-olds’ comprehension and production of pointing. Br J Dev Psychol 30:359–375PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bräuer J, Kaminski J, Riedel J, Call J, Tomasello M (2006) Making inferences about the location of hidden food: social dog, causal ape. J Comp Psychol 120:38–47PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Chow V, Poulin-Dubois D, Lewis J (2008) To see or not to see: infants prefer to follow the gaze of a reliable looker. Dev Sci 11:761–770PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Corriveau K, Harris PL (2009) Choosing your informant: weighing familiarity and recent accuracy. Dev Sci 12:426–437PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Couillard NL, Woodward AL (1999) Children’s comprehension of deceptive points. Br J Dev Psychol 17:515–521CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Fujita K, Morisaki A, Takaoka A, Maeda T, Hori Y (2012) Incidental memory in dogs (Canis familiaris): adaptive behavioral solution at an unexpected memory test. Anim Cogn 15:1055–1063PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Gácsi M, Kara E, Belényi B, Topál J, Miklósi A (2009) The effect of development and individual differences in pointing comprehension of dogs. Anim Cogn 123:471–479CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Hare B, Tomasello M (1999) Domestic dogs (Canis familiaris) use human and conspecific social cues to locate hidden food. J Comp Psychol 113:173–177CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Hare B, Tomasello M (2005) Human-like social skills in dogs? Trends Cogn Sci 9:439–444PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Hare B, Brown M, Williamson C, Tomasello M (2002) The domestication of social cognition in dogs. Science 298:1634–1636PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Harris PL, Corriveau KH (2011) Young children’s selective trust in informants. Phil Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci 366:1179–1187CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Heyman G, Sritanyaratana L, Vanderbilt KE (2013) Young children’s trust in overtly misleading advice. Cogn Sci 37:646–667PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Itakura S, Tanaka M (1998) Use of experimenter given cues during object choice tasks by chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes), an orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus), and human infants (Homo sapiens). J Comp Psychol 112:119–126PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Koenig MA, Clément F, Harris PL (2004) Trust in testimony: children’s use of true and false statements. Psychol Sci 15:694–698PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Kundey SM, Reyes ADL, Arbuthnot J, Allen R, Coshun A, Moline S, Royer E (2010) Domesticated dogs’ (Canis familiaris) response to dishonest human points. Int J Comp Psychol 23:201–215Google Scholar
  17. Kundey SMA, Reyes ADL, Royer E, Molina S, Monnier B, German R, Coshun A (2011) Reputation-like inference in domestic dogs (Canis familiaris). Anim Cogn 14:291–302PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Lakatos G, Soproni K, Dóka A, Miklósi Á (2009) A comparative approach to dogs’ (Canis familiaris) and human infants’ comprehension of various forms of pointing gestures. Anim Cogn 12:621–631PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Marshall-Pescini S, Passalacqua C, Ferrario A, Valsecchi P, Prato-Previde E (2011a) Social eavesdropping in the domestic dog. Anim Behav 81:1177–1183CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Marshall-Pescini S, Prato-Previde E, Valsecchi P (2011b) Are dogs (Canis familiaris) misled more by their owners than by strangers in a food choice task? Anim Cogn 14:137–142PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Miklósi Á, Polgárdi R, Topál J, Csányi V (1998) Use of experimenter-given cue in dogs. Anim Cogn 1:113–121PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Miklósi Á, Kubinyi E, Topál J, Gácsi M, Virányi Z, Csányi V (2003) A simple reason for a big difference: wolves do not look back at human, but dogs do. Curr Biol 13:763–766PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Nitzschner M, Melis AP, Kaminski J, Tomasello M (2012) Dogs (Canis familiaris) evaluate humans on the basis of direct experiences only. PLoS ONE 7:e46880PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Petter M, Musolino E, Roberts W, Cole M (2009) Can dogs (Canis familiaris) detect human deception? Behav Process 82:109–118CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Prato-Previde E, Marshall-Pescini S, Valsecchi P (2008) Is your choice my choice? The owners’ effect on pet dogs’ (Canis lupus familiaris) performance in a food choice task. Anim Cogn 11:167–174PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Reid P (2009) Adapting to the human world: dogs’ responsiveness to our social cues. Behav Process 80:325–333CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Riedel J, Schumann K, Kaminski J, Call J, Tomasello M (2008) The early ontogeny of human–dog communication. Anim Behav 75:1003–1014CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Szetei V, Miklósi Á, Topál J, Csányi V (2003) When dogs seem to lose their nose: an investigation on the use of visual and olfactory cues in communicative context between dog and owner. Appl Anim Behav Sci 83:141–152CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Takaoka A (2009) Social intelligence in dogs viewed from dog-human interaction. Jpn J Anim Psychol 59:15–23CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Takaoka A, Morisaki A, Fujita K (2013) Cross-modal concept of human gender in dogs (Canis familiaris). Jpn J Anim Psychol 63:123–130CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Udell MR, Wynne CDL (2008) A review of domestic Dogs’ (Canis familiaris) human-like behaviors: or why behavior analysts should stop worrying and love their dogs. J Exp Anal Behav 89(2):247–261PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Vanderbilt K, Liu D, Heyman G (2011) The development of distrust. Child Dev 82:1372–1380PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Akiko Takaoka
    • 1
  • Tomomi Maeda
    • 1
  • Yusuke Hori
    • 1
  • Kazuo Fujita
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychology, Graduate School of LettersKyoto UniversityKyotoJapan

Personalised recommendations