Did You ‌Know‌ ‌Wolf‌ ‌Cubs‌ ‌Also‌ ‌Play Fetch‌‌?

Fetching was thought to belong to dogs alone as they have learnt it due to 15,000 years of their domestication. However, the scientists have now discovered that wolf cubs also play fetch. The findings of the research suggest this game might be innate to all canine species.

In a behavioural test, the results of which were published in iScience magazine, 13 wolf puppies from three different litters were tested. The subject of the research was to compare their behaviour to dog puppies. In one test, eight-week-old wolf puppies spontaneously showed interest in a tennis ball and returned it to an unfamiliar person they had never seen before upon encouragement.

Animal experts were shocked by this finding. Behavioural ecologist Christina Hansen Wheat, of Stockholm University, even noticed that when observing the first wolf puppy retrieving the ball, she got goosebumps.

Only some of the studied puppies were interested in this kind of interaction with a person. However, the researchers knew immediately that if some variation of the game directed by a human is innate to wolfs, it might have had a crucial role in dog domestication. Wolf puppies showing human-directed behaviour could have had a selective advantage in the early stages
of dog domestication.

Moreover, the details between these two canine species might help us explain where the behaviour typical for dogs comes from. The research results also showed that our ancestors probably tried to domesticate wolves as well as dogs.

To learn more about the behavioural similarities and differences of wolves and dogs, the team of researchers will continue to work with the data collected over the course of three years of hand-raising wolves and dogs under identical conditions.

Related articles

Tips and recommendations: Preventing tick bites

Pet owners know that summer doesn't only bring warmth, sunshine and late sunsets. It's also the time of ticks, who know how to torment our four-legged friends. Unfortunately, it's very difficult, or even almost impossible, to prevent our pet from...

Pet grooming: When (not)to clip your dog's hair

The summer season calls for hair cuts. And not only yours but also your pets'. But a shorter coat doesn't always mean lower body temperature. On the contrary, sometimes it could be the other way round. How and when to clip our four-legged friends'...

Nutrition: How to feed your pet during summer

Summer months bring hot weather and also holidays. What sort of nutrition do animals require during this period? Is it necessary to change their diet on hot days? And what is most important during hot temperatures? We have discussed this topic with...

How to ensure that your cat is content at home

Despite being self-reliant animals to a certain extent, cats are provided with the best possible care by their owners who make sure that those balls of fluff are content in any circumstances. What is required by cats that live with us in a flat? And...

How to make a hammock for pet rats?

Everyone should have their own place where they can relax in peace. This also applies to animals. Rats, for example, who are very sociable and in nature live in large groups, usually have their own place where they can recharge by the side of their...

Having a dog in the car and ensuring his safety

Today, there are a number of products and gadgets for riding with a dog, which will ensure that we can take the dog with us safely on longer journeys. However, you should pay attention to driving safety even if you only drive a few kilometers. Even...

Dog agility: What does it entail?

Dog agility is a discipline that means a lot of exercise for both the dogs and the handlers, but also a lot of fun. In addition, it strengthens the relationship between the owner and the animal, and also allows the dog to learn new skills. Another...

Cat on a leash: Going for a walk

In most cases, cats love being in nature and active, so it comes as no surprise that felines living in houses and flats may occasionally want to go out and explore the world. If you have such a cat at home, you may find useful the following tips on...