Canine walks can help reveal who`s the top dog
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Last Updated: Friday, January 24, 2014, 11:14
Washington: Dogs' paths during group walks can be used to determine leadership roles and through that their social ranks and personality traits, a new research has published.

Using high-resolution GPS harnesses, researchers from Oxford University, Eotvos University, Budapest and the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (HAS) tracked the movements of six dogs and their owner across fourteen 30-40 minute walks off the lead.

The dogs' movements were measurably influenced by underlying social hierarchies and personality differences.

Study author Dr Mate Nagy of Oxford University's Department of Zoology We showed that it is possible to determine the social ranking and personality traits of each dog from their GPS movement data, asserting that on individual walks it is hard to identify one permanent leader, but over longer timescales it soon becomes clear that some dogs are followed by peers more often than others.

He said that overall, the collective motion of the pack is strongly influenced by an underlying social network.

The study demonstrates the power of path tracking to measure social behaviour and automatically determine dogs' personalities.

Dogs that consistently took the lead were more responsive to training, more controllable, older and more aggressive than the dogs that tended to follow.

Dogs that led more often had higher dominance ranks in everyday situations, assessed by a dominance questionnaire.

Dr Eniko Kubinyi , senior author of the study from the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, said that for example, the dogs that

lick other dogs' mouths more often are less dominant as this is a submissive display.

The study has been published in the PLOS Computational Biology.


First Published: Friday, January 24, 2014, 11:14

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