Pet dogs overcome obstacles to comfort upset owners


Team Udayavani, Jul 24, 2018, 2:26 PM IST

Washington: Pet dogs are very aware of human emotions, and often go out of the way to offer help and comfort when they find their owners crying, a study has found. In a study published in the journal Learning & Behaviour, researchers showed that dogs with strong bonds to their owners hurried to pushed through a door when they heard their person crying.

“We found dogs not only sense what their owners are feeling, if a dog knows a way to help them, they’ll go through barriers to provide to help them,” said Emily Sanford, a graduate student at Johns Hopkins University in the US.

“Every dog owner has a story about coming home from a long day, sitting down for a cry and the dog’s right there, licking their face. In a way, this is the science behind that,” said Sanford, who conducted the study as an undergraduate student at Macalester College in the US. Prior studies have found dogs to be highly responsive to human crying. But However, researchers showed that dogs who detect emotional distress will hurry to do something about it.

The experiment involved 34 pet dogs of various breeds and sizes and their owners. Subjects included classic companion dogs like golden retrievers and Labradors, small dogs like shih tzus and pugs, and several mixed breeds. One at a time, owners were positioned behind a clear door held shut with magnets. The dogs could see and hear them. While sitting behind the door, the people were asked to either hum a song or cry.

The research team wanted to see if the dogs would open the door more often when their owners cried. That was not the case, but dogs who did open the door when they heard their owner crying opened it three times faster than dogs whose owners were humming.

During the task, the researchers measured the dogs’ stress levels. Sanford said dogs who were able to push through the door to “rescue” their owners showed less stress, meaning they were upset by the crying, but not too upset to take action.

As for the dogs who didn’t push open the door, it was not because they didn’t care – it seemed they cared too much. Those dogs showed the most stress and were too troubled by the crying to do anything, Sanford said. “Dogs have been by the side of humans for tens of thousands of years and they’ve learned to read our social cues,” she said.

“Dog owners can tell that their dogs sense their feelings. Our findings reinforce that idea, and show that, like Lassie, dogs who know their people are in trouble might spring into action,” she added. 

Udayavani is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel and stay updated with the latest news.

Top News

Cong moves EC, seeks FIR against Assam CM

No supply of water supply in Mangaluru for 3 days

Delhi Cabinet to meet Wednesday to approve addition of Ayodhya in free pilgrimage scheme

Mysuru: TN ‘man-eater’ tiger critical at rehabilitation centre

Navy officer among 5 arrested by CBI for leaking confidential info about submarine project

Schoolteacher booked for outraging modesty of student

Volcano building up in J-K, celebrations over Pak win meant to provoke BJP: Abdullah

Related Articles More

A new way to organise cancer mutations could lead to better treatment matches for patients

How to support a person with dementia as lockdowns ease

Life expectancy in India dropped by two years due to Covid-19: Study

FDA says Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine looks effective for young kids

62.2% death row prisoners diagnosed with at least one mental illness: Study

MUST WATCH

Byadagi Chilli Cultivation

The real Rajinikanth a journey from Bus conductor to Superstar

There are many problems in this school. Not just one or two.

News Bulletin 26-10-2021

CYCLER WHO IS CYCLING 3500 KM FOR JUSTICE


Latest Additions

Cong moves EC, seeks FIR against Assam CM

No supply of water supply in Mangaluru for 3 days

Delhi Cabinet to meet Wednesday to approve addition of Ayodhya in free pilgrimage scheme

Mysuru: TN ‘man-eater’ tiger critical at rehabilitation centre

Navy officer among 5 arrested by CBI for leaking confidential info about submarine project

Thanks for visiting Udayavani

You seem to have an Ad Blocker on.
To continue reading, please turn it off or whitelist Udayavani.