A study of 60 pet dogs reveals the desire of dogs to help their owner and to know what kind of action is needed to do so. None of the dogs was trained specifically to administer care.
Psychologists Joshua Van Bourg and Clive Wynne of Arizona State University’s canine science laboratory found that dogs were motivated by their want to help their owners rather than just to be near them.
Series of tests
The tests involved each owner being consigned to a large box with a door. When the owner feigned distress their dog also showed signs of distress.
Some of the dogs opened the door to gain access to their owner. Prof Van Bourg told The Metro he thought the dogs that could not open the door simply could not figure out how to do so, yet were still distressed by their owner’s calls.
In another test the owner would sit in the box calmly. Despite dog treats being dropped into the box fewer dogs would keenly seek out the food.
Prof Van Bourg and his team came to the conclusion that dogs are ‘hardwired’ to help humans.
Recent studies of human genetic mutations point to a wolf gene mutation as a probable cause of the domesticated dog’s loyalty and dependency.