Dogs Prefer Praise Over Treats

August 17, 2016

Dreamstime

Dogs have always aimed to please their owners and for owners, one of the ways to rewards their dogs are with treats.  But praise alone may be all the reward you dog craves.  A new study looked at the brain activity of 15 dogs that were first shown a toy car and praised by their owners. Later, they were given a toy horse with a piece of hot dog. Thirteen out of the 15 dogs showed an equal or greater response in the area of the brain associated with decision-making and reward when reinforced with praise rather than treats. A different experiment had the dogs positioned at the beginning of a forked maze with a bowl of food at one end and their owner at the other. In most cases, the dogs passed up the treats and chose the path that led the pets to their favorite human. The dogs in the minority who veered towards the food bowl turned out to be the same subjects who reacted stronger to food in the first test. A study of 15 may not be large enough to support to any solid conclusions, but it does reflect previous research suggesting that the love between dogs and their owners is mutual.

SOURCE: Mental Floss

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