Animal Behaviorists Run Experiment To See If Pet Dogs Will Come To The Aid Of Distressed Owners

August 2, 2018


This is a short video of an animal behavior experiment conducted to determine if a person's pet dog will come to their aid if the person is distressed. The experiment, which was conducted with 34 different adult dogs of all breeds (including mutts -- my favorite), involved whether or not a dog would push an easily openable door (it's only held closed by weak magnets) to get to their distressed human. Some more info while I miss my dog at home and wish she was here with me chewing on my shoestrings:

The owners were in a small room with a window and a door easily pushed open by even a small dog's nose or paw. Some owners said, "Help" in a neutral tone of voice and hummed "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star." Others said "Help" in a distressed tone and cried.

The dogs did not exactly replicate Lassie's television performance. About half of them opened the door for their owners, and the numbers were the same whether the owners were humming a happy tune or crying.

On the other hand, the dogs that did open the door did so much more quickly for crying owners than they did for humming owners. So maybe they really do care.

Now I'm not expert on experiment construction, but I feel like a dog's past experience with opening doors or trying to open doors would play a huge part in the outcome of this experiment. Did the dog get to see that the door can be opened? If they didn't they might just think it's a wall with a window. Whatever the case, my dog would have been in my lap in record time because that bitch is not afraid to jump through a window.

Keep going for the video while I video-chat Margaret to tell her how much I love her.

Thanks to Cyndi M, who agrees this is why it's important to teach your dog how to dial 911. Or pull a fire alarm.

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