Free Shipping + Free Exchanges on all U.S. orders

Dog Training: Do Pups Prefer Food or Praise?

October 19, 2016

A study analyzes whether dogs prefer food over praise

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





Leave a comment


Also in DJANGO Dog Blog

DJANGO Dog Blog - Is It Safe to Fly Your Dog in Cargo?
Is It Safe to Fly Your Pet in Cargo?

January 15, 2020

Is the cargo area safe for pet travel? Will dogs too large for in-cabin pet travel be comfortable in the hold of the plane?

There are preconceived notions that cargo pet travel is unsafe, stressful, and something to be avoided. Rather than jump to this conclusion ourselves, we did a lot of research to better understand pet travel in cargo: what cargo pet travel actually is, potential risks and hazards with putting dogs or cats in cargo, and recent statistics on pet safety.

View full article →

DJANGO Dog Blog - Best french bulldog gifts for frenchie lovers
The Ultimate French Bulldog Lovers Gift Guide

November 15, 2019

Looking for the perfect gift for a french bulldog lover in your life? We've compiled our favorite frenchie-themed goods for every member of the family.

View full article →

The Farmer's Dog Food Review - djangobrand.com
The Farmer's Dog Food Review | Our Experience with the Fresh Dog Food Subscription Service

November 01, 2019

Mike and I have tried almost every fresh dog food subscription service out there, and The Farmer's Dog is a clear favorite of ours. This article is an honest review and comprehensive overview of The Farmer's Dog. All opinions are our own and based on our own experience feeding The Farmer's Dog meals to our dachshund Django.

View full article →