Are Dogs ‘Kids?’: Owner-dog relationships share striking similarities to parent-child relationships

Are Dogs ‘Kids?’: Owner-dog relationships share striking similarities to parent-child relationships

People have an innate need to establish close relationships with other people. But this natural bonding behavior is not confined to humans: many animals also seem to need relationships with others of their kind. For domesticated animals the situation is even more complex and pets may enter deep relationships not only with conspecifics but also with their owners. Scientists have investigated the bond between dogs and their owners and have found striking similarities to the parent-child relationship in humans.

via ScienceDaily: Top Science News:

June 21, 2013 — People have an innate need to establish close relationships with other people. But this natural bonding behaviour is not confined to humans: many animals also seem to need relationships with others of their kind. For domesticated animals the situation is even more complex and pets may enter deep relationships not only with conspecifics but also with their owners. Scientists at the University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna (Vetmeduni Vienna) have investigated the bond between dogs and their owners and have found striking similarities to the parent-child relationship in humans.Their findings are published in the journal PLOS ONE.Domestic dogs have been closely associated with humans for about 15,000 years. The animals are so well adapted to living with human beings that in many cases the owner replaces conspecifics and assumes the role of the dog’s main social partner. The relationship between pet owners and dogs turns out to be highly similar to the deep connection between young children and their parents.The importance of the owner to the dogOne aspect of the bond between humans and dogs is the so-called “secure base effect.” This effect is also found in parent-child bonding: human infants use their caregivers as a secure base when it comes to interacting with the environment. Until recently the “secure base effect” had not been well examined in dogs. Lisa Horn from the Vetmeduni’s Messerli Research Institute therefore decided to take a closer look at the behaviour of dogs and their owners. She examined the dogs’ reactions under three different conditions: “absent owner,” “silent owner” and “encouraging owner.” The dogs could earn a food reward, by manipulating interactive dog toys. Surprisingly, they seemed much less keen on working for food, when their caregivers were not there than when they were. …

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ScienceDaily: Top Science News

Are Dogs ‘Kids?’: Owner-dog relationships share striking similarities to parent-child relationships

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