Canis sensitivus: Affiliation and dogs' sensitivity to others' behavior as the basis for synchronization with humans?


  • Duranton Charlotte
  • Gaunet Florence

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One widely studied phenomenon in behavioral sciences is the ability of 2 individuals to behave in a synchronous way, which has links with affiliative relationships and an adaptive role in increasing fitness. Behavioral synchrony is found in various social species, but has been very little studied at the interspecific level. The unique relationship of humans and dogs deserves to be studied from this perspective. This article reviews present knowledge about dogs' sensitivity to other dogs' and humans' behaviors. The conclusions are that (1) dogs are sensitive to other dogs' and humans' direct behavior, and adjust their own behaviors accordingly; (2) dogs use some information from third-party interactions, and adjust their behavioral response according to the outcome of the interactions; and (3) some recent data suggest that dogs are sensitive to humans' emotional cues, that they show social referencing toward humans, and emphasize the strong affiliative bond between dogs and their owners. This finding suggests that dogs can be considered as an appropriate biological model to study interspecies synchronization with humans. We propose that dogs could mirror at least their owners during day-to-day situations and encourage further research in this field. (C) 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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