Their cute yawns, their wiggly bottoms and the way they shower you with kisses or maybe those puppy eyes as if they can read your thoughts.
What is not to like about them?
Whatever it is, rest assured that puppies are naturally wired to communicate with you from the moment they are born.
Emily Bray, who is a research associate at the Arizona Canine Cognition Centre stated that puppies are able to return a person’s social gaze and use that information given in social context from a very young age.
Bray and her team evaluated 375 puppies that were about 8 weeks old and it involved several tasks for them including eye contact and baby talk.
All of the puppies participating were Labrador retrievers, golden retrievers or a lab-golden mix and still living with their mother and litter mates.
And until the training was over, where one-on-one human interaction would begin they did not leave with volunteer trainers.
More than 40% of the variation in a puppy’s ability to follow a human’s finger point or gaze could be explained by the genes they’ve inherited, Bray said.
Future research will be focused on trying to find which genes are attached to which traits, so that process can be even further refined, Bray said, along with which genes might be associated with cognitive decline as dogs age.
Bray has been studying guide dog development for the last decade with a non-profit organization that provides dogs at no charge to adults, children and veterans with physical or cognitive disabilities.