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Can dogs read our minds? Print E-mail
Friday, 13 May 2016 09:52

According to a study undertaken by Marseille University, dogs' behaviour towards strangers is based on their owner's response.  They looked at 58 dogs and their owners and found that the dog's gaze alternated between the owner and the stranger when meeting; if the owner retreated the dogs looked at the stranger sooner and took more time before their first contact than if the owner approached the stranger.  Males were found to check their owner's reaction less than females.  Of course this does not really mean that dogs can read our minds - more that they they take their behavioural cue from ours.

Canine dustbins! Print E-mail
Monday, 09 May 2016 11:57

Labradors are the most popular family pet in the UK.  Their loveable natures makes them pretty useless as guard dogs but they are easy to train because ... they just love their food treats whilst being trained!  Many owners would argue that their Lab's whole life is geared to finding food - whether it is intended for them or not, a notorious canine dustbin.  It seems though that they can't help being greedy: a vet and geneticist at Cambridge University has found a variation in a gene that makes Labradors less able to produce chemicals that switch off their hunger after a meal.  The researchers say that carrying this genetic variation makes dogs more motivated to work for a titbit but that owners have to be rigorous about portion control (and ensuring that food on work surfaces is out of reach!) to avoid an obese Lab.

Huggability Print E-mail
Thursday, 05 May 2016 09:35

Dr Stanley Coren, the well known and highly respected canine psychology expert, has carried out a study into whether dogs like being hugged.  His results are interesting: 81% appeared stressed and uncomfortable when they were enfolded in a human's arms.  Signs of anxiety included flattened ears, half moon eyes or avoiding eye contact altogeter, yawning and licking the lips.  Only 7.6% of the dogs seemed comfortable while the remaining 10.8% were the canine equivalent of "don't knows." Dr Coren advises owners to save hugs for humans and reward the dog with a stroke or a treat.  Although it is important to remember that there is a tremendous variation between dogs, owners should be aware of these results and if necessary, avoid causing their dog anxiety.  So next time you go to cuddle him just watch his reaction - to ensure that he is enjoying it as much as you.

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