Many pet owners say they care about their dogs and love them like their own children. Until now, the truth of this statement was questioned by everyone but the owners of the animals. Now there is scientific proof of this assertion.
Scientists have shown that the relationship between dogs and their owners is very close to that between mother and child. Domestic dogs have been closely associated with humans for about 15,000 years. According to a new study in many cases the owner assumes the role of Chief Social partner of the pet.
Australian researchers looked at “secure base effect”, which is a key element for the mother-child relationship and is found in the relationship between the owner and dog. The effect was seen in babies who use their parents as a secure base when it
comes to interaction with the environment.
Dr. Lisa Horne of the University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna examines the reactions of dogs in three different situations – when their owner is absent, when he was silent, and when he was encouraging. The task of the dogs was to “earn” their food, dealing with dog toys. The results showed that pets have much less desire to earn their food when their owners are not around.
In the other two cases, where the owner quiet or encouraging, the dog worked with the dog toys. In another experiment, the owners were replaced by strangers. In this case, scientists found that dogs acted almost the same as when they were completely alone. Researchers believe that the presence of the owner is very important for the dog to allow it to behave in certain ways.
“The study provides the first evidence of the similarity between the “secure base effect” found in the owner – dog relationship and parent – child,” said Dr. Horn. The intention of the researchers to study this striking parallel will be further investigated in direct research on dogs and children.”