Washington, Oct 10 : Just like men, dogs too know how to win ladies' hearts - and that too from a young age.
According to a new study, while playing, young dogs let the female pups win, even if the males have a physical advantage.
They might lose the game in the short run, but they could win at love in the future.
The experts found that male dogs place themselves in potentially disadvantageous positions, which could make them more vulnerable to attack, and researchers suspect the opportunity to play may be more important to them than winning.
Infact, the gentlemanly dog behavior is even accompanied with a bow.
"We found that self-handicapping tends to occur in conjunction with play bows," the Discovery News quoted lead researcher Camille Ward, as saying.
"A play bow is a signal that dogs use when they want to communicate playful intentions to a potential play partner," added Ward, a lecturer in the Department of Psychology at the University of Michigan and director of About Dogs LLC. She is also author of the forthcoming book, Relationship-Based Dog Training.
"We know that in feral dog populations, female mate choice plays a role in male mating success. Perhaps males use self-handicapping with females in order to learn more about them and to form close relationships with them -- relationships that might later help males to secure future mating opportunities," the expert said.
To reach the conclusion, the experts studied puppy litters from four dog breeds: a shepherd mix, Labrador retriever, Doberman pincher and malamute. Play data was collected when the pups were between three and 40 weeks old.
The scientists examined how the puppies played with members of their own sex as well as with the opposite sex.
Females were more likely than males to initiate play with their own sex, but that may be to stave off more vicious behavior later.
"Because adult female-female aggression, when it occurs, can generally be more intense than female-male aggression, we suggest that females may use play with other females as one way to practice threat and appeasement signals that may serve to ritualize aggression and limit overt aggression later on," said Ward.
The study has been published in Animal Behavior.
While males were less likely to initiate play with other males, they seemed eager to play with females, and would go to all sorts of lengths to keep the play going.