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STUDY: Pigs turn to humans as dogs do, unless they have a problem to solve

When the task became unsolvable, dogs turned to the humans. In contrast, pigs were more persistent than dogs in trying to solve the task, which may reflect their predisposition to solve problems independently.

EUREKALERT: Researchers compared human-oriented communicative behaviours of young miniature pigs and dogs kept as companion animals. They found that in a neutral situation pigs turn to humans, initiating interactions as much as dogs do. But in a problem solving situation the two species behave differently: whereas pigs keep trying to solve the task on their own, dogs often stop trying alone and display human-oriented communicative behaviours. Natural differences between pigs and dogs prevail despite similar socialization if an exciting challenge comes, the research suggests…

Dogs are known to look at humans in a problem-solving context to establish joint attention and initiate communicative interactions, already from an early age. Is it really dogs’ specialty, or would other companion animals do the same?… Pigs were faster than dogs already in solving the task and getting the reward, perhaps due to their better manipulative capacities. Then, when the task became unsolvable, dogs turned to the humans more than before. In contrast, pigs performed less human-oriented behaviours, but they were more persistent than dogs in trying to solve the task, which may reflect their predisposition to solve problems independently.”

The study is the first to compare family dogs and pigs in a problem-solving situation. “The similarities that we found between the two species point to their similar capacities for engaging in communicative interactions with humans… However, species-specific predispositions might be responsible for the found differences. Dogs are naturally more dependent on and cooperative with humans. This explains their unique success in interacting with us.  SOURCE…

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