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
In June 2016, Mike and I (Steph) packed up our tiny New York City apartment and put almost everything we owned into storage. We flew to the Pacific Northwest with two suitcases and our long-haired dachshund, Django. Over the next 10 months, Mike and I worked remotely, lived in both Oregon and Southern California, and spent almost all of our free time adventuring, hiking, and camping with Django. One of our all-time favorite dog-friendly adventures was a road trip down California's Pacific Coast Highway.
In this DJANGO Dog Blog article, we highlight the best dog-friendly places to visit along the Pacific Coast Highway. Although the PCH technically ends just north of San Diego, we include our favorite pet-friendly beaches, parks, camping grounds, and vineyards to visit on your next road trip from San Francisco to San Diego. We also include an interactive Google Map highlighting each dog-friendly attraction along the route.
Heartworm disease is one of the most serious and potentially lethal canine diseases. It is prevalent throughout the United States and found all over the world. Heartworms are silent killers that can damage your dog’s heart, lungs, liver, and kidneys if left untreated.
If you are a dog owner, you are likely well aware that it is important to protect your dog against heartworm disease. You probably give your dog regular heartworm prevention medicine to ensure your four-legged friend's health and wellbeing. But have you ever stopped to wonder what exactly heartworm disease in dogs is? What causes heartworm disease, and how do dogs contract heartworms? What are the symptoms of canine heartworm disease? Can the disease be successfully treated?
Here is everything you need to know about the causes, symptoms, treatment, and prevention of heartworm disease in dogs.
When we brought Django home in 2015, he had 28 razor sharp puppy teeth. Like a human baby, Django explored the world by putting objects into his mouth. Although we (Mike and Steph) always tried to direct Django's chewing energy towards puppy-safe chew toys, Django would put things in his mouth and chew on items he wasn't supposed to. Since Mike and I were a part of his world, he inevitably started nipping and biting our fingers, hands, and toes.
While mouthing is completely normal during puppyhood, it is important to let your puppy know what is and what is NOT allowed to be chewed on. Why do puppies gnaw on everything? How do you keep your dog from biting you? Are there outdated training techniques you should avoid? When should you seek professional help for your four-legged friend?
We spoke to Denise Harmon, the founder of Brooklyn-based dog training and consultant company Empire of the Dog, for tips on preventing puppy nipping and biting. Here is everything you need to know.