A research team at Emory University set out to determine whether dogs prefer food over praise from their owners.
As lead researcher and neuroscientist Gregory Berns explains to Science Daily, "we are trying to understand the basis of the dog-human bond and whether it's mainly about food or about the relationship itself." Said differently, are dogs obedient because we feed them? Or do they truly love us and want to please us?
13 dogs were analyzed via brain-imaging data and behavioral experiments. In one experiment, dogs were given shown different toys. One toy signaled a food reward, a second signaled a praise reward, and the third resulted in no reward.
Out of the 13 dogs, 9 gave equal weight to the food and praise rewards. 4 dogs chose food over praise. No dog chose the toy associated with no reward.
In a second experiment, the dogs were put in a maze. Each time the dogs entered the maze, they had two potential paths: one to a bowl of food and the second to their owner who would offer praise. Similar to the first experiment, the dogs that strongly favored food tended to veer to the bowls. The dogs that more heavily weighed praise went to their owners.
This study illustrates how domesticated dogs have greatly evolved past their primitive days as wolves where food was the end game. Today, domestic dogs have evolved in a way where they, in many cases, value the human bond as much as they value food.
Remember this study next time you are training your pup. In addition to a small food reward, keep in mind that a joyful “good boy” praise goes a long way.
The original research publication was published in August 2016 and can be found at sciencedaily.com
Comments will be approved before showing up.
Kennel cough is a common and highly contagious dog disease. It causes an ongoing, forceful cough in infected dogs and swelling in the lungs, windpipe, and voice box. If your dog has an unrelenting cough that sounds like a honking goose, he may have kennel cough.
While kennel cough sounds horrible, fortunately the majority of dogs recover without treatment. So what exactly is kennel cough in dogs? What dogs are most at risk for kennel cough, and what are its symptoms? Can humans contract kennel cough from their pets? Is there a vaccine for kennel cough?
In this DJANGO Dog Blog article, we explain the causes and symptoms of kennel cough in dogs. We also review available treatment options, discuss the Bordetella vaccine, and provide tips for prevention.
In an increasingly pet friendly world, dog carrier bags allow us to take our four-legged family everywhere. Whether you are about to board an international flight, ride on public transportation, go hiking, or spend the afternoon running errands with your four-legged friend, getting your dog used to a pet carrier is essential.
Is your dog new to pet carriers? Nervous, excited, or jumpy in any type of dog bag or pet purse? It is very common for dogs to be scared of new carriers or even try to jump out, especially if they're not used to being carried. How do you teach your dog to love riding in a bag?
In this DJANGO Dog Blog article, we provide several steps to help your dog get used to a new pet carrier.