Cookies Policy

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

I accept this policy

Find out more here

Owners fail to influence the choices of dogs in a two-choice, visual pointing task

No metrics data to plot.
The attempt to load metrics for this article has failed.
The attempt to plot a graph for these metrics has failed.
The full text of this article is not currently available.

Brill’s MyBook program is exclusively available on BrillOnline Books and Journals. Students and scholars affiliated with an institution that has purchased a Brill E-Book on the BrillOnline platform automatically have access to the MyBook option for the title(s) acquired by the Library. Brill MyBook is a print-on-demand paperback copy which is sold at a favorably uniform low price.

Access this article

+ Tax (if applicable)
Add to Favorites
You must be logged in to use this functionality

image of Behaviour

Experiments that use human pointing gestures in two-way object choice tests are popular for studying visual communication and referential understanding but results may be influenced by involuntary cues from handlers or experimenters (i.e., ‘Clever Hans Effects’). In this paper we investigated whether such cues from a dog’s owner affected performance of dogs during momentary distal pointing trials. Dogs were tested in four groups. In the ‘Blindfolded Owner’ group, the owners did not see the experimenter’s pointing gestures because they wore opaque glasses. In the ‘Passive Clever Hans’ group, owners were told before the test that if their dogs performed without error, they would receive a gift and their dog would be recorded in the ‘smartest dogs registry’. In the ‘Active Clever Hans’ group, owners were instructed to help their dogs to the correct side by pushing them gently in the correct direction. The fourth group served as a control and owners did not wear a blindfold or receive any specific information. We found no influence of cues from the owners in any of the experimental groups. In contrast to studies based on olfactory cues, this suggests that momentary pointing gestures from a human experimenter can be a reliable communicative cue for adult companion dogs, even when dog owners are present and provide additional voluntary or involuntary cues. We suggest that for short-term studies of visual communication, where individual dogs have little opportunity to learn their owners’ cues in the experimental context, the presence of owners may not necessarily distort results.

Affiliations: 1: aDepartment of Ethology, Biological Institute, Eötvös Loránd University, Pázmány P. s. 1/c, 1117 Budapest, Hungary


Full text loading...


Data & Media loading...

Article metrics loading...



Can't access your account?
  • Tools

  • Add to Favorites
  • Printable version
  • Email this page
  • Subscribe to ToC alert
  • Get permissions
  • Recommend to your library

    You must fill out fields marked with: *

    Librarian details
    Your details
    Why are you recommending this title?
    Select reason:
    Behaviour — Recommend this title to your library
  • Export citations
  • Key

  • Full access
  • Open Access
  • Partial/No accessInformation