Affection Wins Out Over Food!
Scientists designed two different experiments that measured the dogs brain activity in the portion of the brain associated with receiving rewards. Most of the dogs in the experiments got more pleasure from human touch and affection than they did from recieving a treat. Only two out of fifteen preferred getting treats.
The report appeared in the Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience scientific journal. The results also suggest that by testing you could tell if your dog is suited for certain tasks.
In practical terms, this knowledge could not only help dog owners train their pets, but might also prove useful when assigning jobs to working dogs. For example, those with a high preference for social praise may be best suited for therapy jobs, such as visiting hospital patients in order to improve their mood. Dogs who prefer treats, on the other hand, might be better off working on search-and-rescue missions or other tasks that don’t involve as much human interaction.
The study authors also note that some dogs don’t appear to show any clear preference for either type of reward, and therefore suggest that these canines probably aren’t cut out for any type of working role, and should just stick to being pets.
Funny thing is, I already know which way my dogs would go. I don’t need a scientific experiment to tell me. Our 105 lb Newfie mix would definitely choose the treats, but our 55 lb Husky mix would definitely go for the affection.
I’m wondering who paid for this study. I doubt that it was any of the dog food companies. If it was, I’m afraid they would have interpreted the results quite differently (I know, I used to be a research engineer). 🙂
What do you think? Agree, disagree? Either way, please use the buttons on this page to pass this article along to all your dog loving friends.
Article source: IFL Science
Image source: Flickr – D. Sikes