Wolves cooperate, dogs submit

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A new dog research study suggest dogs submit while wolves cooperate.

Comparative psychologists Friederike Range and Zsófia Virányi at the Messerli Research Institute at the University of Veterinary Medicine in Vienna have an upsetting conclusion for dog lovers.

The two scientists studied lab-raised dog and wolf packs, they found out that wolves were the tolerant, cooperative ones.

A lot of researchers think that as humans domesticated dogs they became keen to to pitch in on tasks with humans. But, this is apparently not the true nature on today’s dogs…The dogs formed strict, linear dominance hierarchies that demand obedience from subordinates, says Range.

She thinks that as wolves became dogs, they were bred for the ability to follow orders and to be dependent on human masters…

The more dominant wolves were “mildly aggressive toward their subordinates, but a lower ranking dog won’t even try” when paired with a top dog, Range said…

Wolves also beat the dogs on tests assessing if they were able to follow the look of their fellows to find food. “They are very cooperative with each other, and when they have a disagreement or must make a group decision, they have a lot of communication or ‘talk’ first,” Range said.

The dogs, on the other hand were far more authoritarian and aggressive. A higher-ranked dog “may react aggressively” toward one that is subordinate for even the smallest transgression.

Range and Virányi suspect that the relationship between dogs and humans is hierarchical, with humans as top dogs compared to the cooperative wolf packs.

The idea of “dog-human cooperation” needs to be reconsidered, Range said, as well as “the hypotheses that domestication enhanced dogs’ cooperative abilities.”

Interesting conclusions – and more studies to follow.

I expect anthropomorphic ideologues will either fall apart in disbelief – or leap into predictable fundamentalist rapture over this report.

5 thoughts on “Wolves cooperate, dogs submit

  1. Buck says:

    “Dogs have been man’s best friend for much longer than we thought, a study suggests” http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/speaking-of-science/wp/2015/05/21/the-dog-has-been-mans-best-friend-for-much-longer-than-we-thought-a-study-suggests/ “A group of researchers discovered an ancient wolf bone and say its DNA suggests dogs diverged from wolves 27,000 to 40,000 years ago — not 11,000 to 16,000 years ago, as previous research has suggested. The researchers published their findings Thursday in the journal Current Biology.” (includes link to “Ancient Wolf Genome Reveals an Early Divergence of Domestic Dog Ancestors and Admixture into High-Latitude Breeds” press corrected proof 4/19/15)

  2. Arf says:

    Wolves Are Better than Dogs at Working Together to Solve a Problem : New research published in PNAS tested how well wolves can work in pairs versus domestic dogs. https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/qv3dxw/wolves-are-better-than-dogs-at-working-together-to-solve-a-problem “Wolves generally have a stronger exploratory urge to investigate things,” Friederike Range, a researcher at the Wolf Science Center and the University of Vienna, said in a press release. “However, they clearly outperformed the dogs when co-operating was the only chance for success.” https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-10/uovm-dhn101717.php It’s long been supposed that domestic dogs should be better at cooperation since they have more docile temperaments, but that doesn’t seem to be a match for the wolf’s strong pack dynamic, according to the study, published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2017/10/11/1709027114.full

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