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Do dogs see us as surrogate parents?

3 years, 9 months ago - Views

Do dogs see us as surrogate parents?

Man and dog have a special relationship and that since over 15,000 years. That is why the dog has become man's best friend. But are humans also a parents replace for the dog? Researchers at the University of Vienna have made hereof an experiment.




Do dogs see us as surrogate parents 

Lisa Horn and her team from the University of Veterinary Medicine in Vienna have conducted a very interesting experiment with 30 dogs and their owners. The researchers wanted to find out if there is a parent-child relationship between man and dog. They tested if the presence or absence of dog owners has an influence on the behavior and problem-solving capacity of dogs.


Big bond between man and dog

Infants need the backing and support of their parents. Is the reference person present so it produces a so-called "safe-base effect". The toddlers feel more secure when exploring the environment and they can solve mental tasks much better.




The Vienna researchers were able to demonstrate this effect in dogs. Dogs feel more secure in the presence of their owners and may explore the environment more carefree. Furthermore, the experiment showed that the dogs were decidedly more motivated to solve a food task when their owners were there.


Without owners less motivation and assurance

Were the dogs, however, alone or were other persons present, they lost very quickly the joy of playing.

In the first step dog toys were filled with food. The dogs had to find a solution, how they could come to the food. In some runs, the owner was present and spurred the dog verbally, in others he was only present or not in the room. In one run, the owner has been replaced with a strange person.




The result of the research: If the dog owner was not present, the dogs were much less motivated to find a solution to get to the food and capitulate faster. If the owner was present, the dogs were much more motivated and felt more secure, regardless of whether the owner cheered them or remained quiet.

If a strange person was in the room, so the researchers could find the same behavioral characteristics, like if the dogs were alone. In this case they lost just as fast the motivation and were uncertain in their interaction with their environment.

The complete research study by the University of Vienna.

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