AUG 29, 2016 10:14 AM PDT

Study Finds That Dogs Prefer Praise Over Food

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

When your dog listens to you and makes you proud, what do you do? Do you give them a dog biscuit, or do you scoop them up off the floor and give them some love?
 
According to a new study published in the journal Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, dogs may prefer the latter.
 

Try giving your dog some loving instead of treats, most seem to like it, study shows.

 
Researchers studied the brain activity of 15 dogs with an fRMI machine throughout the course of about 32 trials each. Some of them were given praise, and others were given food. It was found from the data collected from the fMRI machine that the dogs who were praised were far more excited.
 
One of the trials involved teaching the dogs to associate objects with different outcomes; one object was associated with food, one with praise, and another with nothing. Another trial involved a Y-shaped maze where one end led to food and the other to the owner.
 
2 of the 15 dogs were reported to prefer the food, while 13 of the 15 dogs were reported to show equal or more brain activity from being praised.
 
Although there is a common misconception that dogs only behave when there is the reward of delicious food around the corner, the new study seems to debunk this idea.
 
“We are trying to understand the basis of the dog-human bond and whether it's mainly about food, or about the relationship itself,” said Gregory Berns, a neuroscientist from Emory University.
 
“One theory about dogs is that they are primarily Pavlovian machines: they just want food and their owners are simply the means to get it,” Berns continued. “Another, more current, view of their behavior is that dogs value human contact in and of itself.”
 
It would seem that dogs actually value and cherish the inter-species bond between themselves and man. The coined phrase “man’s best friend” may just be an accurate description for dogs after all.
 
“Dogs are hyper-social with humans and their integration into human ecology makes dogs a unique model for studying cross-species social bonding,” Berns added.
 
Whenever your dog behaves, make sure to give them some loving. This experiment seems to support the hypothesis that it does actually mean something to them.

Source: Emory University

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
APR 27, 2020
Cell & Molecular Biology
Cold Foods Don't Taste as Good, Even to Flies
APR 27, 2020
Cold Foods Don't Taste as Good, Even to Flies
The deliciousness of a food appeal is about a lot more than just taste.
MAY 04, 2020
Plants & Animals
A Capuchin Monkey's Curiosity Can Sometimes Cloud its Judgement
MAY 04, 2020
A Capuchin Monkey's Curiosity Can Sometimes Cloud its Judgement
Capuchin monkeys are highly intelligent animals, but they’re also rather curious. They’ve adapted to communi ...
MAY 26, 2020
Earth & The Environment
"Green Snow" Expected to Increase in Antarctica
MAY 26, 2020
"Green Snow" Expected to Increase in Antarctica
When Antarctica comes to mind, the imagery probably includes a vast, frozen, and barren landscape. However, red and gree ...
MAY 31, 2020
Plants & Animals
These Penguin Chicks Now Face the Trials of Adulthood
MAY 31, 2020
These Penguin Chicks Now Face the Trials of Adulthood
Like any other bird species, adult penguins follow the tried and true tradition of raising their young close to the nest ...
JUN 26, 2020
Earth & The Environment
Another 2020 plague: locusts
JUN 26, 2020
Another 2020 plague: locusts
2020 is determined to be a year to remember. On top of the global COVID-19 pandemic, the worst locust outbreak seen in o ...
AUG 05, 2020
Plants & Animals
Satellite Images Reveal New Emperor Penguin Colonies
AUG 05, 2020
Satellite Images Reveal New Emperor Penguin Colonies
The British Antarctic Survey (BAS) and the European Space Agency (ESA) recently shared excellent news about emperor peng ...
Loading Comments...