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
After living in NYC for many years, Mike and I (Steph) moved to Oregon in mid 2016 with our dog Django. October rolled around, and Mike and I began to understand why Portlanders call rain the "Portland mist". It seemed to drizzle and rain continuously. Unfortunately, this meant that by the end of every hike, Django would be cold and soaked with a mud-caked underbelly.
Our rainy adventures in the Pacific Northwest inspired us to design two performance dog coats built to withstand cold, rain, mud, and snow: DJANGO's Reversible Puffer Dog Coat and City Slicker All Season Dog Jacket.
Mike and I (Steph) did not properly prepare our dachshund Django for his little brother's arrival. We now realize we should have done a lot more to help Django's transition from only child to big brother.
Here are several steps you can take to prepare your dog for your new arrival and ensure things go as smoothly as possible when you get home from the hospital. We also share helpful guidelines on how to safely introduce your dog to your newborn.
New York City can be an intimidating place, especially if you're visiting for the first time with your dog. Not sure where to stay next time you visit? There are thousands of hotels in Manhattan alone, and not all are pet-friendly, in a good location, or even well rated!
To make your life easier, Mike and I (Steph) put together a list of the best dog-friendly hotels throughout Manhattan. Our recommended pet-friendly hotels range from trendy to central to luxurious. And although nothing in NYC is cheap, there are a few hotels below that qualify as 'budget'. If you are focused on a particular Manhattan neighborhood, scroll down for our Google Map guide which highlights the location of each dog-friendly hotel.