Open questions and our goals
Was it their social life, the power of their cohesive and cooperative group that made wolf packs so successful before the rise of the human species?
And how intelligent are they after all? Do they understand that they need a partner to reach some goals or does each of them just try to reach the goal by himself without considering the others?
And did the similar life style of wolves and early humans, their common interest and cooperative orientation trigger the "dogification" of the wolves?
Many people are interested to know why and how wolves turned into dogs and why dogs and not any other higher vertebrate became our closest animal companion. Only relevant research in wolves and dogs can answer these questions.
For example, we are interested in the following questions:
- Do the old wolf characteristics allow dogs to cooperate with humans so successfully or is this due to newly acquired social skills in dogs?
- In what respect did the species change during domestication?
- How do cognitive and cooperative abilities in wolves and dogs depend on their social relationships?
- And how does the human-dog companionship depend on the raising and training of the animals, on human personality, attitudes and communication style, etc. ?
In particular, we aim at understanding which role the social relationships have on cognitive and cooperative development and performance.
Read more about the Wolf-Dog-Human Triangle
At the Wolf Science Center research will focus on these questions, which are crucial to understand wolves, dogs and the human-dog relationships, but also to understand our own human social cognition, cooperation and social psychology.
Our results will provide a better understanding of the human-dog relationship and therefore, also contribute to a scientific basis for dog training and to support educated decisions in animal-assisted therapy and activities.
These are important applied goals at a time when the importance of dogs as social companions is rapidly increasing in modern societies.