A similar experiment was also tried with kittens, but they were too “busy with their own affairs.”
It’s a well-known fact that dogs are man’s best friends, and a new study is yet another confirmation of this. This time, scientists have shown how puppies are able to interact well with people, including imitating their every movement, writes Daily Mail .
The new study was carried out by scientists at the Eötvös Lorand University in Budapest, Hungary, and suggests that dogs’ tendency to copy our behavior may be useful for learning new skills or new information, as well as promoting social group membership.
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Curiously, the researchers also repeated the experiment with kittens, but found only one more confirmation that the cats are “going about their own business.”
For the study, the team selected 42 puppies, 39 kittens and 8 wolf cubs, all socialized and living in human families, and their average age is about 13 weeks. Note that the cubs were raised by their caregivers after they were separated from their mothers in the first 12 days after birth.
During the study, the scientists observed how the animals interacted with new objects, such as a tiny plastic basket or a dog toy. Next, the owners kept their pets while the experimenters demonstrated a certain action on the object. For example, if the pet previously touched the object with his nose, then the experimenter touched it with his hand.
The owners then released the pet, and the research team watched to see if it ended up performing the same action on the item as the experimenter. The scientists found that puppies and cubs reproduced the action about 70% of the time, twice as often as kittens. However, the researchers note that only puppies sought to reproduce the experimenter’s action with the same part of the body.
Overall, the results of the study show a clear tendency for dogs to copy the actions of humans at a young age, potentially considered by scientists as an innate survival tactic. The ancestors of wolves and dogs were social animals that lived in groups and had to cooperate with each other. At the same time, the cat’s ancestor was a lone hunter, and this is reflected in the results of the study.