A recent British study would seem to show that even dogs have precise expectations of life and owners. And if they are disregarded our furry friend can react badly and manifest the typical disorders of anxiety. (Riccardo Galli, 18 October 2010)
Even Fido can be pessimistic or optimistic about life. The unexpected revelation comes from Great Britain, where a team of researchers from the University of Bristol studied the behavior of dogs when they are separated from their masters, usually "difficult" for most of our four-legged friends.
Michael Mendl and his colleagues analyzed a group of 24 dogs from a kennel for a few days: after letting them play and have fun one by one, they left them alone for a few minutes and shot them with a camera. The films were used to attribute a score to the state of anxiety shown by the dogs following the temporary abandonment.
Some of the animals remained calm and at most they became a little sad, while others started barking, whining and destroying the furnishings of the room.
In the following days, the researchers taught the dogs that they could find a container with food in a corner of the room, while in the opposite corner they would find the empty container. They then placed the container in a dubious area (in the middle of the room) and analyzed the behavior of the animals.
Expectations … canines
Those who had been quieter following the abandonment ran towards the container, while most of the most anxious looked at the container with a certain disinterest. According to scholars, the animals of the first group were convinced that they found it full of food, while the latter expected to find it empty.
"We know that in humans the mood affects expectations, but our study has shown that this also happens in dogs, " explains Mendl.
"Dog owners interpret the mood of their animals very differently: some people worry every time they leave them alone, others are convinced that the dog is happy even if there is nobody at home and that the carpets gnawed and the bisognini left around are a spite made on purpose "says the researcher. "In reality, even dogs have feelings and emotions and manifestations of anxiety should be reported to the veterinarian who will intervene in the most appropriate manner."
And are you able to understand your dog when communicating with you? Find out here what Fido says .