Dogs are a man’s best friend because they are highly sociable animals. They are sensitive too and very responsive, as they know how to handle both their emotions and their owners’. And since master and pet seem so very much alike, a new study proves another feature of the quadrupeds: they are more vulnerable and addicted to praise than to the tasty promised snack.
The new study involved 15 dogs, which were brain-scanned, and the researchers observed their brain activity as a response to the actions of their owners – praising them or feeding them. The tests consisted of confronting the animals of different breeds to food and the affection of their owners at the same time. Most of the pets chose their masters over the treats, because they rather play, be praised, and keeping their owners’ company instead of eating.
Researchers observed a greater brain activity in dogs when spending time with humans than when getting a reward such as food. This behavior proves two things: one is that they are sociable, affectionate animals, and the other is that they can be more easily trained when rewarded with both kindness and food, than just with food alone.
What the researchers also observed it that the area in dogs’ brains that is responsible for their responsive attitude and the tendency of obeying commands is better stimulated by verbal encouragement from the trainers or masters than just by offering tasty treats.
The outcome of the study is important because dogs with higher emotional levels can be used for therapy with people depending on them (such as blind people). On the other hand, dogs which respond better to treats can be used in other sectors of working service, such as search on the field.
Another thing that dog owners might want to keep in mind is that their pet is highly dependent on the affection its owner offers to it. Other studies have also proven that dogs can feel their human’s emotion and react to it in order to make humans feel better. The same thing should function backward as well, namely people feeling their dogs emotions. So if you own a dog, be a true dog lover. If you don’t own one, you might want one now.
The study on how affectionate dogs are will be published in Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience.
Image courtesy of: Wikipedia