Dogs have been known as “man’s best friend” for centuries, but a recent study proves just how true that title is. According to new research, puppies are born with a genetic predisposition for socializing with us humans.
The study published in Current Biology claims that up to 40 percent of a dog’s ability to communicate with humans is hardwired into their genes. Essentially, they are already eager to hear what we have to say and bond with us before any training takes place.
Of course, it can vary with different breeds and the genes that come with them. And anyone who’s met a sweet little pup that instantly started snuggling with them or giving them sloppy smooches already knew they were born to be our besties — but now there’s just some science to back it up!
Researchers came to their conclusion after observing 375 puppies who were an average of eight and a half weeks old. They tracked their responses to several different types of human interaction, including simply being spoken to, gesturing them forward for a pet, and pointing out or even just looking in the direction of hidden food the pups wouldn’t have noticed without a hint.
“We show that puppies will reciprocate human social gaze and successfully use information given by a human in a social context from a very young age and prior to extensive experience with humans,” lead study author and animal psychologist Emily Bray explains. “For example, even before puppies have left their littermates to live one-on-one with their volunteer raisers, most of them are able to find hidden food by following a human point to the indicated location.”
Bray added, “All these findings suggest that dogs are biologically prepared for communication with humans.” She even compared this innate ability to communicate with humans to the same instinct we inherit as infants.
Further proof that our favorite four-legged friends truly are our furbabies!