Researchers found that head shape and playful nature can play a part, study finds.
For example, is your dog spending a lot of time staring into your eyes? It could depend on the shape of their head, among other factors.
When it comes to human relationships, making eye contact is crucial, and it can be just as important when it comes to humans- When it comes to eye gazing, however, not all dogs are created equal, according to a study published in Scientific Reports. 1
As a nonverbal communication tool, eye contact is crucial. Using it to show that you are paying attention in a conversation “researcher Zsófia Bognár tells Treehugger she is a PhD student in the Department of Ethology at the Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest, Hungary “There’s also an increase in oxytocin levels in both parties, which plays a role in the development of social bonding.”
She points out that a mother’s bond with her child is a good example of this social connection.
As for dog relationships, eye contact is less important. Eye contact is rare between them, and when it occurs, it’s antagonistic and challenging.
Researchers have found that eye contact between humans and dogs raises oxytocin levels in both parties, Bognár says. “It’s also well-known that dogs don’t all behave the same; differences can be found between them.
According to previous research, dogs with shorter heads were better able to follow pointing gestures from humans and spend more time looking at pictures of people’s faces.
Because snub-nosed dogs have a more prominent central vision area in their retina, they are better at recognizing what is right in front of them.
As a result of their broader peripheral vision, longer-nosed dogs are more susceptible to distraction.
As a result of this the researchers had look at how head shape and other factors affected eye contact.
Why Head Shape Matters
To conduct the study, researchers used 130 family dogs. First, they measured their heads’ maximum length and width for starters to determine the cephalic index, the ratio of the head’s full length and width.
There are several dog breeds with short-headed or brachycephalic heads, including boxers, bulldog.
Greyhounds, Great Danes, and German shepherds are all dolichocephalic or long-headed dog breeds.
Among the dog breeds with medium-sized heads or mesocephalic heads are Labrador retrievers, Cocker spaniels, and
It’s time to start testing!
In the beginning, the experimenter would call the dog’s name and give it a treat. The experimenter would then remain motionless and silent while waiting for the dog to make eye contact with him. As soon as the dog made eye contact with them, they would reward him with a treat.
A total of 15 eye-to-eye contacts were made over five minutes. Because the dog was separated from its owner, the owner remained in the room (silent, motionless, and not looking at the dog) during this test.
After the dog ate a treat, they counted how many times he made eye contact, as well as how long it took for him to do so again. The shorter the dog’s nose, the more likely it is that it made eye contact with the researcher.
It was hypothesized that snub-nosed dogs would be better able to concentrate because other visual stimuli from the periphery would be less distracting,” Bognár explains.
There’s also the possibility that pugs, bulldogs, and other similar dogs are more likely to interact with people due to their baby-like appearance.
These dogs may have more opportunities to interact with people and make eye contact. “Bognár explains the situation “Snub-nosed dogs are popular among humans because their heads resemble a ‘Baby schema’ characteristics of snub-nosed dogs’ heads are in accordance with human preferences for these features, so dog owners may pay more attention to them and be more likely to engage in mutual gaze with their animals.
Characteristics of Age, Playfulness, and Breed
It wasn’t just the head shape that played a role. When it came to eye contact, researchers found that a dog’s age, playfulness, and general cooperative nature as a result of breed characteristics all played a role. 1
Eye contact was found to be higher in dogs that were originally bred to take visual cues. Herding dogs, for example, are “visually cooperative” breeds that are more likely to make eye contact with their handler. These “visually non-cooperative” breeds depend on verbal communication and don’t need to see their owners, like sled dogs and dachshunds bred to chase prey underground.
As it turns out, the performance of mixed-breed dogs was no worse than that of Adopted from a shelter, about 70 percent of mixed-breed dogs in the study The researchers speculate that their eagerness to make eye contact may have contributed to their adoption. 1
As a result of the study, the researchers found that older dogs Their attention spans were shorter, and they took longer to switch from the treat to the researcher. 1
Eye contact was also affected by a dog’s playfulness. Untethered dogs were placed with their owners in a room in order to measure how playful they were.
With a ball and rope in hand, the experimenter offered them to the dog. The dog would play with the toy for a minute if it was chosen. Instead of trying to get the dog to pick out a toy, the experimenter tried to get the dog to initiate
We gave dogs high marks for playing with the experimenter and returning the ball or tugging on the rope. When a dog As soon as a dog didn’t play with his or her toys, ran after the ball but didn’t bring it back, or grabbed the rope but didn’t tug on it,it was given a low playfulness score, Those who studied playfulness in dogs found that dogs with a high level of In contrast, dogs with low levels of playfulness took longer to establish eye contact than
The study sheds light on how dog-human eye contact affects canine-human communication.
‘Eye contact can assist dogs in determining whether the message/command that the human says/shows is intended for them, In contrast, if the human looks away or at another person or dog, they are more likely to obey a command,” Bognár says.
Gaze alternation, for example, can be used by dogs to direct human attention to different objects, such as an unreachable piece of food or a ball “Bognár adds. “As for social bonding, the oxytocin hormone can play a role.
Conclusion: Eye contact is more likely to be made by dogs with a short nose, according to study finds.
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