Research suggests the domesticated pets can't solve problems as well as their wild cousins because living with us has made them 'incapable of thinking for themselves.'

 In tests, experts presented a 'puzzle box' containing food to a group of dogs, and a group of wolves and while the wolves were capable of breaking inside, the dogs looked to humans for help.

Just one domesticated dog was able to solve the puzzle while the majority declined to even attempt the problem. Instead they showed signs of look to the humans for some guidance on what they should do. Dr Monique Udell, an animal behaviour researcher at Oregon State University who conducted the study, said humans appear to have conditioned the animals to not think for themselves.

The results may explain why dogs so often seem to get themselves into a tangled mess with their lead or get their heads stuck in railings or inside boxes.

Dr Udell said: 'Wolves may have more opportunities for independent problem-solving within their environment, and a greater history of success obtaining trapped food independently owing to their relative strength.

'Consequently, dogs' behaviour may be the product of conditioned dependence on humans, or conditioned inhibition of independent problem-solving behaviour when confronted with a novel task.'

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