A new study from Austria looked to see if the relationship and familiarity of a person influenced the dog’s ability to pay attention to that person. The study found that a dog was more likely to observe a familiar person engaging in an activity and would observe that familiar person for a longer period of time than an unfamiliar person engaging in the same activity. However, there are differences amongst the familiar people as well!
Amongst the familiar people, the dog was more likely to observe/pay attention to the familiar person who was the actual caretaker vs. the familiar person who did not have as strong of a relationship with the dog.
So, it does appear that having a certain kind of relationship with your dog is more important than just being a familiar person to that dog when it comes to the dog being motivated to observe a person’s behavior.
Stay tuned for the next post where I use this information to transform a puppy’s behavior from fear aggression to a happy playful puppy!