Making Unique Observations in a Very Cluttered World

Thursday, 12 June 2014

STUDY: Dogs prefer to earn treats rather than receive handouts... -

STUDY: Dogs prefer to earn treats rather than receive handouts... - 

In humans the ‘eureka moment’ is a commonly known feeling that occurs when we solve a particularly troubling problem.
But new research suggests that we’re not the only animals to experience this - dogs, too, gain pleasure from solving a tricky task.
In a series of experiments, scientists found dogs were happier when they earned a reward by performing a task, rather than just being handed a treat.

The research was carried out by Dr Ragen Mcgowan and colleagues from the University of Agricultural Sciences in Sweden.

During tests, the researchers used six matched pairs of beagles, reports Companion Animal Psychology.
Each of the 12 dogs were trained to use three of six different pieces of equipment, ranging from a ‘dog piano’ to a lever that would make a bell ring.

The other dog in each pair was trained on the other three pieces of equipment.
The dogs were then taken to an ‘arena’ that had all six experiments in.
At the entrance to the arena the dogs were held behind a gate, while also inside was a ramp leading to one of three rewards - a treat, a person to pet them, or another dog.
Each of the dogs in the pair took turns being the control and then the experimental dog.
The experimental dogs were only given access to the treat on the ramp when they successfully manipulated the three pieces of equipment they had been trained to use.
The control dogs, meanwhile, were given access to the reward when the puzzles were solved by their partner in the other arena, irrespective of how they used the equipment.
The dogs in the pairs were then tasked with performing the same run several times, and also played both roles of experimental and control dog.


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