Domestic Dogs (Canis familiaris) Use Human Gestures But Not Nonhuman Tokens to Find Hidden Food

Monique A.R. Udell, Robson F. Giglio, Clive D.L. Wynne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

90 Scopus citations


The authors examined the ability of domestic dogs to use human body cues (gestures) and equivalent-sized nonhuman cues to find hidden food in an object choice paradigm. In Experiment 1 the authors addressed the importance of the human element of the cue, and the effects of size, topography, and familiarity on dogs' success in using cues. Experiment 2 further explored the role of the human as cue-giver, and the impact of a change in the experimenter's attentional state during cue presentation. This included a systematic test of the role inanimate tokens play as cues apart from human placement. Our results indicate that dogs are more sensitive to human cues than equivalent nonhuman cues, and that the size of the cue is a critical element in determining dogs' success in following it.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)84-93
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Comparative Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • domestic dog
  • gestures
  • social behavior
  • token use

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Psychology (miscellaneous)


Dive into the research topics of 'Domestic Dogs (Canis familiaris) Use Human Gestures But Not Nonhuman Tokens to Find Hidden Food'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this