Science Explains Why You And Your Dog Have So Much In Common

Reviewed by Claire Beaudreault

September 14, 2015

Some folks may resemble their dogs, but this takes it one step fur-ther. Not only do our pups look like us, but they act like us, too!


For one thing, we tend to gravitate toward pups with personalities similar to ours. (This probably explains why my pup is charming and affectionate with a side of jealousy and loudmouthedness.)


Science shows us other reasons. Recent studies find that dogs learn by watching the actions and reactions of their humans. Much as children learn societal behaviors, dogs copy the actions of their pack (human or dog) to fit in.


Scientists at the universities of Vienna and Oxford conducted an experiment to find out if dogs copy what they see. Ten humans showed their dogs how to open a wooden box, using either their heads or hands to push a handle. For the first part of the test, five dogs were rewarded with sausage (mmmmm) for mimicking their human’s actions.


The remaining dogs were rewarded for using the opposite method of their humans. After hundreds of repetitions, the scientists found that dogs encouraged to copy their humans were able to successfully execute the task more often. Basically, dogs are better at performing tasks if they mimic their human.


The findings of the study were published in Proceedings of the Royal Society, and concluded, “Like humans, dogs are subject to ‘automatic imitation’.”


Results “suggest that the imitative behaviour of dogs is shaped more by their developmental interactions with humans than by their evolutionary history of domestication.”


So the next time your pup’s doing something naughty, it might be time to examine your own behavior ;).

Featured image via Fresh American Style
h/t The Telegraph; Dogtime

Reviewed by Claire Beaudreault

September 14, 2015