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Author (up) Gácsi, M.; Kara, E.; Belényi, B.; Topál, J.; Miklósi, Á. url  doi
  Title The effect of development and individual differences in pointing comprehension of dogs Type Journal Article
  Year 2009 Publication Animal Cognition Abbreviated Journal Anim. Cogn.  
  Volume 12 Issue 3 Pages 471-479  
  Keywords Age Factors; Analysis of Variance; Animals; *Association Learning; Attention; Chi-Square Distribution; Choice Behavior; *Comprehension; *Concept Formation; Dogs/*psychology; Female; *Gestures; Humans; Male; Orientation; Statistics, Nonparametric  
  Abstract In spite of the rather different procedures actually used in comparative studies to test the ability of different species to rely on the human pointing gesture, there is no debate on the high performance of dogs in such tasks. Very little is known, however, on the course through which they acquire this ability or the probable factors influencing the process. Important developmental questions have remained unsolved and also some methodological concerns should be addressed before we can convincingly argue for one interpretation or another. In this study we tested 180 dogs of different age (from 2 months to adults) to investigate their performance in the human distal momentary pointing gesture. The results, analyzed at both the group and the individual levels, showed no difference in the performance according to age, indicating that in dogs the comprehension of the human pointing may require only very limited and rapid early learning to fully develop. Interestingly, neither the keeping conditions nor the time spent in active interaction with the owner, and not even some special (agility) training for using human visual cues, had significant effect on the success and explained individual differences. The performance of the dogs was rather stable over time: during the 20 trials within a session and even when subsamples of different age were repeatedly tested. Considering that in spite of the general success at the group level, more than half of the dogs were not successful at the individual level, we revealed alternative “decision-making rules” other than following the pointing gesture of the experimenter.  
  Address Department of Ethology, Eotvos University, Budapest, Hungary.  
  Corporate Author Thesis  
  Publisher Place of Publication Editor  
  Language English Summary Language Original Title  
  Series Editor Series Title Abbreviated Series Title  
  Series Volume Series Issue Edition  
  ISSN 1435-9456 ISBN Medium  
  Area Expedition Conference  
  Notes PMID:19130102 Approved no  
  Call Number Equine Behaviour @ team @ Serial 4969  
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