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Data from: Social facilitation can impact the responses of free-ranging dogs (Canis lupus familiaris) towards physical cognitive tasks

Citation

Bhadra, Anindita; Bhattacharjee, Debottam (2020), Data from: Social facilitation can impact the responses of free-ranging dogs (Canis lupus familiaris) towards physical cognitive tasks, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.xd2547ddq

Abstract

Dogs are known to persist less in problem-solving tasks independently. While most of the studies so far have reported results based on experiments in pet dogs, conclusive evidence from free-ranging subpopulations is lacking. Free-ranging dogs are primarily scavengers and require problem-solving abilities to survive. We provided dogs with a familiar or an unfamiliar task in the presence of conspecifics. Both the tasks provided a single food-reward upon solving. We coded success, latency, and the duration of active engagement of the dogs in this study. We compared them with an earlier published dataset where individual dogs were tested in identical experimental set-ups. Our findings show that dogs have higher success rates in both the familiar and unfamiliar tasks when tested in the presence of conspecifics than when alone,  suggesting a role of social facilitation. Furthermore, the presence of conspecifics facilitated dogs to approach faster and engage longer in the unfamiliar task than when tested alone. We provide the first evidence that social facilitation may play a crucial role in free-ranging dogs, especially in the context of problem-solving.

Methods

Field based experiments. 

Funding

Science and Engineering Research Board, Award: SB/WEA-005/2013

Department of Science and Technology, Ministry of Science and Technology, India, Award: INSPIRE Fellowship

INSA-IAS-NaSI, Award: Summer Research Fellowship

Indian Institute of Science Education and Research Kolkata, Award: Summer Fellowship

INSA-IAS-NaSI, Award: Summer Research Fellowship