The study was done to examine whether human-canine communication, specifically pointing gestures, was an onboard biological ability, a learned trait through exposure to humans, and whether the skill was passed through genetic heritage.
Ever since the metaphorical first wolf came within the light of the campfire, humans have been selectively breeding canines as companions. The pointing to a piece of food, a shot duck, a thrown stick, or a means of passing an obstacle is a method of human/canine communication that works well, but is extremely rare in the animal kingdom.
Even chimpanzees, one of our closest relatives, can't understand pointing gestures. In contrast, this study showed that 8-week-old puppies could reliably follow pointing gestures as good as adult dogs.