Dogs' Natural Drive to Communicate With Us

by Courtney Sexton

Did you know that puppies are born ready to communicate with people? 

How well they end up being able to get their point across or respond to cues depends in large part on the humans who guide them, but nearly half of their socializing style is explained by genetics. 

As with most things where genetics are concerned, this didn’t happen overnight. Over the millennia, domestication has resulted in dogs being highly social animals who develop close bonds with people, and have ultimately learned to communicate with us very effectively. 

Communicating with humans is a heritable characteristic

Researchers have found that thanks to this long domestication process, dogs today are biologically prepared to socialize with humans. Or, in other words, having the skills and desire to interact with us is now part of their DNA!

In what must have been a very fun study to run, Dr. Emily Bray and her colleagues followed 375 8-week old puppies as they were tested on a variety of social and cognitive measures. 

As it turns out, these little ones were ready and raring to go when it came to cooperating with people and following gestures, and required very little socializing experience to do so.  

Researchers say these socializing skills and behaviors are highly heritable in dogs, which means there’s a very strong likelihood they are passed on from one generation to the next. 

No such thing as too young to learn

Even before they open their eyes, puppies are learning about the world. They use their senses of smell and touch to guide them to their moms and start becoming familiar with the environment outside of the womb. 

By the time they’re 2-weeks old they can see, and by three weeks have begun to develop their keen sense of hearing. And, according to the researchers, by just 8-weeks old, they express interest in human faces and are skilled at following diverse gestures. 

Recognizing that puppies’ social skills and attention to people emerge at a very young age, we as companions and teachers can start early in helping them hone those skills and become expert communicators. 

Elevate your puppy's learning experience with buttons

It's fascinating how puppies are wired to communicate with us, and now, we have a way to boost that natural talent. FluentPet buttons are more than just enrichment gadgets; they give our furry friends the power to tell us exactly what they want, whether it's their favorite toy or if they're feeling under the weather. 

We have so many learners who love to “narrate” their world, from calling out when they see a bird to telling you they miss grandma. Imagine your dog being able to 'say' what they see or feel. It's not just about needs; it's about sharing their life with us. 

Give your pup this gift of communication. FluentPet Speak Up Kits have everything you need to get started, including our popular Speak Up Buttons with premium audio, HexTiles, button stickers and Edge Pieces to complete the soundboard.