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Wolves and dogs ‘collaborate equally well with humans’
Both dogs and wolves, when socialised with people and kept under similar conditions, work equally well with humans, but in very different ways.

Study suggest wolves lead and dogs follow

Wolves and dogs may be more similar than previously thought, according to new research which suggests both species cooperate with humans, but in different ways.

A study published in the journal Scientific Reports indicates that dogs share specific behavioural characteristics with wolves, which gives them their ability to work with people.

Researchers from Vetmeduni Vienna explored the extent to which 12 dogs and 15 grey wolves collaborated with humans to solve certain tasks.

They found that both dogs and wolves, when socialised with people and kept under similar conditions, work equally well with humans, but in very different ways. Dogs were seen to follow the behaviour of humans, while wolves led the interactions and were more independent.

“The detailed analysis of the cooperative interactions revealed interesting differences between wolves and dogs,” said study director Friederike Range. “It shows that, while wolves tend to initiate behaviour and take the lead, dogs are more likely to wait and see what the human partner does and follow that behaviour.”

The research team believe that, in the process of domestication, dogs with higher submissive tendencies were selected for breeding. This helped to reduce conflicts over resources and ensured the safe coexistence and cooperation between humans and dogs.

Previous research has suggested that dogs gained specific predispositions for cooperative interactions during domestication. Dogs would therefore be expected to be better at cooperating with humans than wolves. But as a species, wolves are highly cooperative in working together to raise young, hunt and defend their territory.

Vetmeduni Vienna researchers concluded that dogs did not develop new cooperative traits during domestication - but instead, the collaborative skills of their wolf ancestors formed the basis of dog-human cooperation. 

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Tickets on sale for horse welfare conference

News Story 1
 Tickets are now on sale for the 'Welfare and Performance of the Ridden Horse' conference, due to take place at Nottingham University on Saturday, 11 December 2021.

World-renowned researchers, including Prof. Hilary Clayton and Dr Sue Dyson, will deliver the latest research updates. There will also be interactive Q&A sessions throughout the day, interactive polls and a fun evening of entertainment.

Organisers say that in the event of further coronavirus restrictions, day tickets will be transferred to livestream tickets. For more information about the conference and to book your place, click here.  

Click here for more...
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More cases of African swine fever confirmed in Germany

More cases of African swine fever (ASF) have been confirmed in wild boar in Germany.

According to Pig World, 20 outbreaks have been identified in two districts - Brandenburg, where the original case confirmed on September 10 was found, and near the town of Neuzelle, some 7.5 km away.

The finding represents a further seven cases confirmed by Germany's Friedrich-Loeffler Institute. A Central Crisis Team has been established to coordinate the response to the outbreak.