Canine gazing

Given the choice, what do dogs like looking at? As part of project CogniDog, Professor Christina M. Krause and colleagues from the Research Center of Animal Welfare, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, at the University of Helsinki, Finland, recently devised a set of experiments. In the first study of its kind, the team used contact-free infra-red eye-tracking tech to monitor the gaze of six family dogs aged 1-5 years (3 beauce shepherds, 1 pyrenean mountain dog, 1 hovawart and 1 rough collie) while they looked at a 22” LCD monitor displaying colour images in four different genres – both animate (human and canine) and inanimate (toys and alphabetic characters).
The results of the tests showed that the dogs had a well defined penchant – they much preferred looking at photos of dogs (and, contrastingly, were markedly less keen on pictures of alphabetic characters). “According to our results dogs can spontaneously discriminate images with differing content.“ – conclude the team.
‘Dogs do look at images: eye tracking in canine cognition research’ is due for publication in a future issue of the journal Animal Cognition.

More details can be found here: