Repository logo

Behavioural coordination of dogs in a cooperative problem-solving task with a conspecific and a human partner.

Published version



Change log


Ostojić, Ljerka 
Clayton, Nicola S 


The process of domestication has arguably provided dogs (Canis familiaris) with decreased emotional reactivity (reduced fear and aggression) and increased socio-cognitive skills adaptive for living with humans. It has been suggested that dogs are uniquely equipped with abilities that have been identified as crucial in cooperative problem-solving, namely social tolerance and the ability to attend to other individuals' behaviour. Accordingly, dogs might be hypothesised to perform well in tasks in which they have to work together with a human partner. Recently, researchers have found that dogs successfully solved a simple cooperative task with another dog. Due to the simplicity of the task, this study was, however, unable to provide clear evidence as to whether the dogs' successful performance was based on the cognitive ability of behavioural coordination, namely the capacity to link task requirements to the necessity of adjusting one's actions to the partner's behaviour. Here, we tested dogs with the most commonly used cooperative task, appropriate to test behavioural coordination. In addition, we paired dogs with both a conspecific and a human partner. Although dogs had difficulties in inhibiting the necessary action when required to wait for their partner, they successfully attended to the two cues that predicted a successful outcome, namely their partner's behaviour and the incremental movement of rewards towards themselves. This behavioural coordination was shown with both a conspecific and a human partner, in line with the recent findings suggesting that dogs exhibit highly developed socio-cognitive skills in interactions with both humans and other dogs.



Animals, Attention, Cooperative Behavior, Dogs, Female, Humans, Male, Problem Solving

Journal Title

Anim Cogn

Conference Name

Journal ISSN


Volume Title



Springer Science and Business Media LLC