(ORDO NEWS) — Different people practice different approaches to raising a dog, and now scientists have figured out how the owner’s behavior affects the behavior of a grown pet.
Being strict and demanding or allowing the dog all sorts of liberties – what is better for the dog to grow up good-natured and cheerful?
Dog behavior has been of increasing scientific interest over the past decades.
Most of the previous research has focused on the influence of past experience or home environment on the formation of the character and habits of the pet, while little attention has been paid to the personality of the owner and his approach to raising the dog.
Now, researchers are increasingly trying to find a way to capture the relationship between the behavior of the dog owner and the behavior of his pet in order to evaluate our contribution to the formation of the character of the animal.
Surprisingly, research on the relationship between humans and dogs is in many ways similar to work in the field of human psychology.
Just as the behavior of parents has a huge impact on the development and behavior of the child (including parameters such as social activity, psychological stability and even labor productivity), the behavior of the owner turned out to be an equally significant parameter in the development and formation of the dog’s personality.
Scientists conducted a survey of 48 dog owners, asking them the details of raising a pet. Using the data obtained, the respondents were divided into three categories (by the way, the same ones that are used in the study of child psychology): authoritative, authoritarian and permissive.
In reputable owners, the dog follows strict rules, while they meet her needs, try to keep her comfortable. Authoritarian people have the same strict approach to education, but they are used to getting their way with punishments and shouting.
Finally, permissive owners approach the upbringing of the dog “in a slipshod manner”: they require almost nothing, but they also do not pay attention to what the pet needs, as a result, it grows with “fence grass”.
After establishing the parenting approach, the scientists conducted three tests involving the animals themselves.
First, they assessed the dog’s attachment to its owner, first by allowing it to interact with him within the room, and then by monitoring the animal’s reaction to the owner’s return after a short absence.
Secondly, the sociability of the dog was assessed, which was asked to interact with the owner and a stranger.
Finally, the third test examined the cognitive ability of an animal that needed to solve a simple puzzle (with varying degrees of help from the owner) in order to get a treat.
According to the authors of the study, authoritative owners had the most active, attached and cognitively gifted pets (by the way, only dogs of such owners successfully coped with the puzzle in the end).
The dogs of authoritarian owners clearly lacked confidence: they were more persistent in seeking closeness with the owner, not paying too much attention to what was happening around. Permissive pet owners lacked discipline and had little to no control over their owners.
Thus, the bond between owner and dog is much like that between parent and child : similar parenting approaches produce similar results.
Therefore, people who are going to grow a cheerful and sociable dog out of a puppy should first of all pay attention to themselves.
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