Dogs are man’s best friend. Pet dogs are known to be more loyal and will save its owners in any situation. Earlier people believed that only trained dogs will save people. However, a new study has now claimed that the pet dogs, even if not trained, will save its owner when the situation demanded.
ASU Canine Science Collaboratory did the study. Joshua Van Bourg, a graduate student at Arizona State University’s Department of Psychology and Clive Wynne, an ASU professor of psychology and director of the Canine Science Collaboratory at ASU were those led the study. They assessed about 60 pet dogs that did not get any training.
Each of the owners was confined to a large box equipped with a light-weight door that the dog could slide aside. The owners once inside the box feigned distress by shouting out “help”. The owners were also not asked to call their dog’s names. This was not done as the dogs might have some tendency to dash for help when names are called. They could act because of obedience and not out of concern for the safety of their owners. In this, one third of the dog rescued their owners. But a closer analysis was quite impressive. The researchers say that two things acted here. The first one was the desire of the dog to help their owners and the second one is how good the dogs understood the nature of help.
In another controlled study, food was also dropped in the large box where the owner was confined. Nineteen of the 60 dogs opened the box to get the food. However, the majority rescued their owners than retrieved the food.
Van Bourg said that the majority of the dogs not opening the box for food was a clear indication that rescuing required more than just motivation. Something else was involved and it was ability component, Bourg said.
The researchers said that the test showed that majority of the dogs wanted to save their owners but they were not aware of how to do that.
In another control test, the owner sat inside the box and calmly read aloud from a magazine. It was found that 16 out of 60 dogs opened the box. The researchers also noted the each dog’s behaviour during the three tests. They looked for stress, such as whining, walking, barking, and even yawning.
In the first distress, the dogs were seen to be more stressed. The dogs barked more when the owners were distressed. Some of the dogs even whined. The second test also showed that the dogs were a bit distressed. But in the reading test, t6hey were seen to be less stressed.
Wynne said that the study showed clearly that several dogs even if not trained will try to save their owners.