Do dogs work with humans?
As a rule, a person starts a dog so that it becomes his friend. Are dogs able to collaborate - including with humans?
To answer this question, you need to know how dogs interact in a pack. How do they differ from a wild animal with which the dogs share a common ancestor - the wolf, and what do they have in common?
What is the difference between a dog and a wolf?
If we compare dogs and wolves, we will find approximately the same differences as between chimpanzee and bonobo monkeys.
Wolves, like chimpanzees, are quite intolerant of strangers, and if they meet a member of another pack, they can behave quite aggressively. Dogs, unlike wolves, as a rule, do not show aggression towards unfamiliar dogs even in adulthood, and if this happens, it is mainly due to human behavior or breeding characteristics. And while there was no evidence that stray dogs killed relatives, even strangers.
Another difference is that dogs allow unfamiliar dogs to sniff themselves in the genital area, while wolves do not allow this. It seems that wolves are not too inclined to “be frank”, that is, to provide strangers with “personal data”.
Another feature of wolves is that they form strong married couples and jointly raise cubs, who sometimes, having matured, remain to live with their parents, forming a flock, and then help raise their younger brothers and sisters. Dogs do not differ in such constancy, and the bitch raises puppies alone. And there are practically no cases when a male dog takes part in raising a baby or a grown-up puppy stays with her mother and helps her raise the next brood. This is probably one of the consequences of domestication.
The wolves that form the flock act together, hunt together and protect the offspring. This is the guarantee that most of the cubs survive, while most of the puppies of a stray dog die. Researchers at Duke University cite data that only 1% of stray dogs survive their first birthday.
Wolves are skilled in joint hunting, they successfully coordinate their actions and therefore can get enough to feed themselves and cubs. At the same time, there is no evidence that stray dogs can cooperate successfully in hunting.
And, of course, the attitude of wolves and dogs to humans is different. Wolves compete with humans for resources, while dogs, in the process of domestication, have learned to communicate successfully and are “tuned” to humans.
That is, we can conclude that wolves improved in cooperation with each other, while dogs - in cooperation with people.
In the photo: a dog and a wolf. Photo: wikimedia.org
Why do dogs collaborate with humans?
It is likely that domestication of dogs was beneficial for both animals and humans. When hunting, dogs can detect a prey before a person, catch up with it and hold it until the hunter arrives, and a person developed more and more perfect murder tools.
But due to what dogs began to differ sharply from wolves, but did they learn to be such wonderful helpers for people?
Scientists tried to answer this question and conducted experiments.
The first experiment was to show Do dogs recognize each other?. After all, if you live in a pack, you must distinguish members of the pack from strangers, right? And people remember dogs well. What about the congeners?
The essence of the experiment was simple. The puppies, who were taken away from their mother at the age of two months, were introduced to her again two years later. Moreover, she was given the opportunity to see and / or sniff both grown puppies and other dogs of the same breed and age. Researchers observed whether a mother would prefer to communicate with her children or with unfamiliar dogs that look exactly the same.
The result showed that the dog is able to recognize its puppies even two years after separation, both in appearance and smell. Puppies also recognized their mother. But it is curious that puppies from the same litter, brothers and sisters, who were separated in childhood, were not able to recognize each other after two years of separation. However, if one of the puppies, for example, during these two years had the opportunity to regularly communicate with his brother or sister, he recognized other puppies from the same litter that he had not seen for such a long time.
That is, dogs can recognize their family members and prefer to communicate with them, like most other animals.
AND Can dogs experience empathy? Indeed, empathy is a necessary component of cooperation. Many are capable, which the diagnostic game of empathy proves.
It is also proven that when communicating with a dog in both an animal and a person oxytocin production increases - a hormone that is responsible for affection and trust in another being.
So the conclusion suggests itself: the dogs seem to be specially created for cooperation with humans.