General, Research, Technology

Is a dog a man’s best friend, or is he just pretending to be?

Dogs are considered one of the earliest domestic dogs.animals. Scientists still can’t say exactly when it was people who tamed these creatures, but the most common assumption is that this happened 10-14 thousand years ago, in stone age. Since then, dogs are considered our mostbest friends who will never leave us in trouble. Remember only the dog Hachiko, who waited her master at the station for nine years until she died - what is not the best proof of their loyalty? There is also a lot of other evidence in the history of the loyalty of our four-legged friends, but the American psychologist Joshua Van Bourg once thought - what if the dogs just pretend to be faithful companions in order to benefit?

Frame from the movie "Hachiko"

Stone Age - the period of human development, when a person made tools from stone. It is believed that in these times a person was able to tame a dog.

According to the researcher, numerous stories aboutrescue dogs and films full of romance do not prove their disinterested desire to save people. After all, who knows what is going on in the minds of these creatures? Maybe they save people with selfish goals, wanting to get a tasty feed or stroking their stomach in return? Asking these questions, Joshua Van Burg contacted Professor Clive Wynne, who studies human-dog interactions. Together they developed a series of experiments that helped them understand how much the dogs were interested in saving their owners.

In the photo - Clive Wynn with his puppy

Dog loyalty

60 dogs took part in a scientific experiment,each of which was entrusted with the passage of three tests. The developed tests were generally the same - the owner of each animal was hiding in an iron box, the exit from which was blocked by a metal partition. But the circumstances in each case were different, because of which the tests even received different names:

  • at "Disaster test" the owners pretended to be in trouble and called their dogs for help;
  • at "Reading test" the owners sat inside the box and just read the newspaper aloud;
  • at Food test the researchers put food in an empty box right in front of the dogs.

As part of the first test, their owners were saved 20dogs out of 60. Researchers counted “salvation” only if the animal independently moved the partition. Not many dogs coped with this, and the rest, although they showed interest in the owners' screams, did not understand how to help them. It is important to note that people were forbidden to call pets by name - in some cases, this could be perceived by dogs as a team that needed to be run contrary to their true desires.

Dogs are happy to save us, but first they need to be taught

Study Summary turned out to be - dogs really wantsave their masters, but for this they need to know how to do it. They are clearly not enough of desire alone, because without knowing what to do, they can just run around in a panic when they are in trouble. However, in history there are cases when the barking of dogs saved people from the effects of fire and other emergency situations.

If you look at the interaction of people and dogswith a broader view, even the study conducted cannot fully answer the main question - why do dogs want to save their owners? What drives them: attachment, addiction, expectation of praise, or true love? There is still no scientific answer to this question.

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Finally, if you are a happy hostfour-legged friend, it is recommended to read the article by my colleague Daria Yeletskaya. In it, she talked about how to determine the age of a dog in human terms. Many believe that one canine year is equal to seven human, but this is far from the case.