It is a known fact that dogs recognize smells a lot easier than men and they can also sense those smells that the human brain doesn’t recognize. On the other hand it seems like this ability has been making up for the fact that they cannot rely on their sight as much as men do.
Recent researches have shown in what measure dogs recognize the people around them and it has also shown that these animals prefer to gaze at their owners rather than looking at some strangers.
Although the smell of people seems to be important, the researchers have found that it has been difficult for dogs to recognize their owners in case the owner had his or her face covered. This study also shows that the domestication of the animals might have affected their behavior in other ways than the ones that we all knew about.
The study has been led by Paolo Mongillo from the University of Padua, Italy. According to him there have been numerous researches conducted regarding the way dogs interact with humans, but there has been no study regarding the way animals seem to prefer the presence of one person, rather than of others.
In order to measure in what way does the dog prefer his owner, the researchers have made up an experiment. They got the dog in an empty room, and they have instructed the owner and another person that was unfamiliar for the dog to walk across the room several times.
These people have been walking in opposite directions, and the researchers measured for how long the dog has been looking at one of them and how much time he spent gazing at the other person.
According to Dr Mongillo the results have been as expected, but nobody measured it before. It is natural to see dogs in the middle of a crowd gazing at their owner and ignore the rest of the people.
In the second part of the study the volunteers have been asked to cover their faces and to walk across the room. In this case, the dogs paid less attention to their owners than before. This shows how important it is for dogs to be able to recognize the faces.
According to the genetic differences that have been found between dogs and their wolf ancestors their domestication started about 15,000 and 40,000 years ago.
As the animals living in the wild are concerned, they rely on the hints and cues that they get from the other animals, but the dogs which have been domesticated for thousands of years got so used to the presence of humans and they can also recognize certain facial expressions.
Another thing that the group investigated is the effect of time on the attention of dogs. The researchers have seen that the older dogs paid less attention to their owner and it has been more difficult for them to find their human “best friend”. It has been shown that regarding cognitive impairment, aging in case of dogs is really similar to aging in case of humans.