Navigation Links
Dogs may be pessimistic too
Date:10/11/2010

A study has gained new insight into the minds of dogs, discovering that those that are anxious when left alone also tend to show 'pessimistic' like behaviour.

The research by academics at the University of Bristol, and funded by the RSPCA is published in Current Biology tomorrow (12 October). The study provides an important insight into dogs' emotions, and enhances our understanding of why behavioural responses to separation occur.

Professor Mike Mendl, Head of the Animal Welfare and Behaviour research group at Bristol University's School of Clinical Veterinary Science, who led the research, said: "We all have a tendency to think that our pets and other animals experience emotions similar to our own, but we have no way of knowing directly because emotions are essentially private. However, we can use findings from human psychology research to develop new ways of measuring animal emotion.

"We know that people's emotional states affect their judgements and that happy people are more likely to judge an ambiguous situation positively. What our study has shown is that this applies similarly to dogs that a 'glass-half-full' dog is less likely to be anxious when left alone than one with a more 'pessimistic' nature."

In order to study 'pessimistic' or 'optimistic' decisions, 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.

Professor Mendl explained: "Dogs that ran fast to these ambiguous locations, as if expecting the positive food reward, were classed as making relatively 'optimistic' decisions. Interestingly, these dogs tended to be the ones who also showed least anxiety-like behaviour when left alone for a short time.

"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."

Dr Samantha Gaines, Deputy Head of the Companion Animals Department from RSPCA, said: "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. This research 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. Some dogs may also be more prone to develop these behaviours, and should be re-homed with appropriate owners."


'/>"/>

Contact: Joanne Fryer
joanne.fryer@bristol.ac.uk
44-011-733-17276
University of Bristol
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Caltech: Gain and loss in optimistic versus pessimistic brains
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/20/2017)... March 20, 2017 PMD Healthcare announces the ... and Wellness Management System (WMS), a remote, real-time lung ... 2010, PMD Healthcare is a Medical Device, Digital Health, ... dedicated to creating innovative solutions that empower people to ... intent focus, PMD developed the first ever personal spirometer, ...
(Date:3/13/2017)... , March 13, 2017 Future of security: Biometric ... ... DERMALOGs Face Matching enables to match face pictures ... the basis to identify individuals. (PRNewsFoto/Dermalog Identification Systems) ... DERMALOG,s "Face Matching" is the fastest software for biometric Face ...
(Date:3/9/2017)... MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. , March 9, ... Simple," and 23andMe , the leading personal genetics ... choices.  Zipongo can now provide customers with personalized nutrition ... goals and biometrics, but also genetic markers impacting how ... Zipongo,s personalized food decision support platform uses biometrics ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/20/2017)... ... 2017 , ... USDM Life Sciences , the leading risk management, technological ... pleased to announce Holger Braemer as Vice President of its Europe division ... Germany. , Braemer is an integral part of USDM’s expansion of services and ...
(Date:4/20/2017)... ... April 20, 2017 , ... Energetiq ... applications, announced today that Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Debbie Gustafson has been appointed ... the global industry association connecting the electronics manufacturing supply chain. The mission of ...
(Date:4/20/2017)... HACKENSACK, N.J. and PETACH TIKVAH, Israel ... (NASDAQ: BCLI), a leading developer of adult stem cell technologies ... Chief Executive Officer, will present at the Alliance for Regenerative ... Investor Day on Thursday, April 27, 2017 at 09:40 EDT ... Dr. Ralph Kern , MD, MHSc, Chief Medical Officer ...
(Date:4/19/2017)... ... , ... Alisa Wright, founder and CEO of Singota Solutions , has ... in Lafayette, Indiana. , The Distinguished Alumni Award was established in 1984 to ... scientific endeavors. , Wright began her career in the pharmaceutical industry with firms ...
Breaking Biology Technology: