“WOLVES COOPERATE, DOGS SUBMIT” — Redux


Wolf Science Center/Vetmeduni Vienna

❝ Following domestication, dogs should be more tolerant and cooperative with conspecifics and humans compared to wolves. This is at least often hypothesized. But looking at wolves and dogs in more naturalistic living conditions, however, speaks for a more cooperative behavior of wolves. Researchers at the Messerli Research Institute at Vetmeduni Vienna have now shown that the wild ancestors are actually excelling their domesticated relatives in teamwork. In an experimental approach dogs failed to cooperatively pull the two ends of a rope at the same time to obtain a piece of food. The wolves, on the other hand, showed perfect teamwork. They even waited for a partner to come before pulling the rope ends together for food. The study was published in PNAS.

❝ Dogs were domesticated so that man had a perfect companion at his side. Therefore, a lot of importance has been attached to properties such as tolerance and cooperative behavior. In line with this there are many hypotheses that dogs have also become more tolerant and co-operative with conspecifics compared to wolves. But The socio-ecological background of wolves, shows that they depend on cooperation for many aspects of their life from hunting to pup rearing, speaking against these theories.

❝ Researchers from the Wolf Science Center of the Vetmeduni Vienna now tested with a so-called “loose-string” test setup, whether the domesticated dog really is the better team player. The study showed that wolves can perfectly work together, if they need to co-operate for a piece of food. Similarly raised and kept dogs – although having the same interest in the task – in contrast were not able to co-operate and failed the test.

Must put the freebie publication of this study on my watch list.

One thought on ““WOLVES COOPERATE, DOGS SUBMIT” — Redux

  1. moss says:

    I asked my favorite dog person for a response to this article!

    She said, “Of course. Dogs know they can just ask a human to perform the task for them.”

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