outbrain
Close  

Dogs will rush to comfort owners when they sense trouble—study

/ 04:35 PM July 25, 2018

INQUIRER.net Stock Photo

Dogs were found to be more emotionally attuned to their owners and would rush to comfort them when the animals sense something is wrong.

A study on this behavior, titled “Timmy’s in the well: Empathy and prosocial helping in dogs,” was published in the journal Learning and Behavior. The researchers observed how dogs would react if their owners exhibited signs of distress.

ADVERTISEMENT

During their experiments, dogs were placed in an enclosure with a clear glass door. The researchers measured how the animals would react after seeing and hearing their owners through the door. The dogs could also go to their master through the magnetized door. The researchers found half of the dogs would approach their respective owners immediately upon seeing them through a clear glass door. However, they also found the dogs would rush to their owners three times faster when they hear crying.

“We found dogs not only sense what their owners are feeling, if a dog knows a way to help them, they’ll go through barriers to provide help to them,” said lead author Emily Sanford, currently a graduate student at Johns Hopkins University Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, in a statement.

FEATURED STORIES
TECHNOLOGY

Meanwhile, not all the dogs involved in the experiment rushed to their owners. Nonetheless, these dogs still showed higher stress levels when they heard crying from their owners. The researchers suggest the dogs may have been too upset or anxious that they couldn’t figure out what to do in the situation—a behavior that can sometimes be observed in humans as well.

Through this study, scientists were given a more concrete view on the supportive relationship that dogs have with humans. Saford said, “Our findings reinforce that idea, and show that, like Lassie, dogs who know their people are in trouble might spring into action.”  /ra

RELATED STORIES:

Dogs make faces to communicate with humans, researchers discover

LOOK: Dog feels sorry for owner taking a bath, shares toy to comfort him

Having a dog may reduce risk of heart disease, death — study

ADVERTISEMENT
TOPICS: “eMPATHY”, animal behavior, dogs, John Hopkins University, Pets
Read Next
EDITORS' PICK
MOST READ
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.
View comments

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.


© Copyright 1997-2020 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.