Animal Cognition

, Volume 14, Issue 5, pp 727–734 | Cite as

Communication between domestic dogs and humans: effects of shelter housing upon the gaze to the human

  • Gabriela Barrera
  • Alba Mustaca
  • Mariana Bentosela
Original Paper

Abstract

It is widely known that gaze plays an essential role in communicative interactions. Domestic dogs tend to look at the human face in situations of conflict and uncertainty. This study compares the gaze of shelter and pet dogs during acquisition and extinction phases in a situation involving a reward in sight but out of reach. Even though no significant differences between the groups were recorded during acquisition, gaze duration decreased in both groups during extinction, with shelter dogs showing a significant shorter duration. This could be related to their different living conditions and to the fact that through their ordinary everyday interactions, pet dogs have more opportunities to learn to persist in their communicative responses when they do not get what they want. These results highlight the relevance of learning experiences during ontogeny, which would therefore modulate communicative responses.

Keywords

Domestic dogs Shelter dogs Gaze direction Learning 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gabriela Barrera
    • 1
  • Alba Mustaca
    • 1
  • Mariana Bentosela
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Experimental and Applied Psychology (PSEA)Medical Research Institute (IDIM; CONICET-UBA)Buenos AiresArgentina

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