Sometimes, even dogs ’see the glass half empty’October 12th, 2010 - 12:03 pm ICT by ANI
Washington, Oct 12 (ANI): It seems unlikely that a dog could be pessimistic, but a new study suggests that sometimes even they see the glass half empty.
A study at the University of Bristol has shown that “a ‘glass-half-full’ dog is less likely to be anxious when left alone than one with a more ‘pessimistic’ nature.”
To verify the same, dogs at two UK animal re-homing centres were trained that when a bowl was placed at one location in a room (the ‘positive’ position) it would contain food, but when placed at another location (the ‘negative’ position) it would be empty. The bowl was then placed at ambiguous locations between the positive and negative positions.
“Dogs that ran fast to these ambiguous locations, as if expecting the positive food reward, were classed as making relatively ‘optimistic’ decisions,” explained Professor Mike Mendl.
“Around half of dogs in the UK may at some point perform separation-related behaviours - toileting, barking and destroying objects around the home - when they’re apart from their owners. Our study suggests that dogs showing these types of behaviour also appear to make more pessimistic judgements generally,” he added.
“Many dogs are relinquished each year because they show separation-related behaviour. Some owners think that dogs showing anxious behaviour in response to separation are fine, and do not seek treatment for their pets,” said Dr Samantha Gaines, Deputy Head of the Companion Animals Department from RSPCA.
Gaines added that this study suggests that at least some of these dogs may have underlying negative emotional states, and owners are encouraged to seek treatment to enhance the welfare of their dogs and minimise the need to relinquish their pet.
The research is published in Current Biology today. (ANI)
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Tags: behaviours, biology today, companion animals, current biology, decisions, deputy head, dr samantha, food reward, judgements, negative emotional states, negative position, pessimistic nature, pets, professor mike, rspca, study suggests that, these dogs, university of bristol, welfare