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…
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.