Scientific American reports a study that shows 8 week old puppies already respond to social cues that humans give them, such as pointing at food hidden under cups. It's the "most adorable study of the year" so far.
Emily Bray: "Are you the best puppy? Yes, you are! Of course you are. That's a good puppy!"
Hopkin: During this interaction, the researcher would record how much time the pup spent gazing at her with joyous anticipation and then compare it with how the other puppies behaved.
Our findings show that, from early in development, puppies are highly sensitive and receptive to diverse communicative signals from humans, including gestures and speech, and that variation in these traits is under strong genetic control.