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Dogs Are Like Their Owners? – They Can Be Pessimistic, Too
13:00 - 16 May 2016
Optimists are good learners – they always hope for the best. Luckily, the majority of dogs are optimistic. We could say they are actually smart...
Australian scientists have studied optimistic and pessimistic dogs by using a conditional reflex. They taught them two sounds: the lower sound was followed by a bowl of water, whereas the sound higher with two octaves was followed by a bowl of milk (Dogs with lactose intolerance should not get milk at all. We can give milk in a small portion to dogs that don’t have problems after drinking it.)
During the study they played different sounds, low and high in an to the dogs in a random order and they observed the behavior of dogs. Whether they expected milk or water, symbolozing good and bad. 'We found that the majority of dogs are optimistic but it would be too early to say that all dogs are optimistic based on our results.' – said Dr. Melissa Starling, leading veterinarian and tutor of the University of Sydney.
Why is this important for us? According to the scientists if we are looking for a puppy to train him for service or search and rescue tasks, we should always choose an optimistic dog. No matter how many times they fail, they never give up, not like their pessimistic fellows who tend to break down in stressful situations.
Scientists say that these tests give us a possibility to ask our dog, how she feels and we can also get an answer to our questions. This can help us check their actual mood and let us know more about the things and situations they find emotionally uncomfortable.
Many dog behaviorist identify this „optimism” as the primary surviving instinct of dogs – animals that give up easily and refuse to try various options to solve a task (eg. catching a prey) are practically incapable of living. Basically all living creatures should behave optimistically if they want to survive.
Animals can’t let themselves fall into pessimism or depression, because it leads to 'non-action' or to be more precise to an 'incapacity of living'. Now if they want to achieve something, they have to use their skills and go for it. The ability to learn fast and adapt quickly to changed circumstances is necessary to the animal’s subsistence – and this is not a matter of good or bad mood. It’s an essential act.
Index image source: www.thebrunettediaries.com
First appearance of this article: 2014. September 20.
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