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Domestic dogs (Canis familiaris) have shown remarkable communicative skills towards humans. These abilities allow dogs to solve different problems and achieve desired objects in their ordinary lives. However, the mechanisms underlying these capacities are still unclear. There is an intense debate between high-level and low-level explanations, regarding the role of domestication and ontogeny (or life history) in the development of these skills. In this talk I will describe several approaches to study the role of learning and experiences during ontogeny on interspecific communicative responses in dogs. Specifically, three kinds of studies will be discussed: 1. the effects of some associative learning processes upon communicative behaviors (reinforcement, extinction, omission, and stimulus competence), 2. the comparison of the performance of dogs with different levels of social contact with humans (shelter vs. pet dogs) and 3. the comparison between dogs and other non-domesticated canids like foxes and wolves. These investigations not only contribute to the debate regarding the mechanisms of communication, but also provide relevant information to applied areas where dogs are found.
Sponsor:E-training for Dogs
Speaker(s):Mariana Bentosela, PhD & Monique Udell, PhD (Moderator)
Contact: Cheryl Asmus