Would a dog pay more attention to an unfamiliar person engaging in a task or a familiar person?

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!

Published in: on April 15, 2011 at 10:08 am  Comments (1)  

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  1. I’ve witnessed this first hand, to an extent.

    My girlfriend’s dog, Dino (OES), knows me very well, but if she is around, will only listen to her. In fact, if she is in the room as I give commands, he looks to her first.

    Also, I have been taking care of my sister’s dog the past year. He’s 13 and used to sleep in her bed at night and they were very close.

    Although, I take care of him, he’s not real interested in sleeping in my bed and goes crazy when he sees her.

    Probably going off topic, but I think there’s more to bonding than just who’s dog it is. There seems to be something else. I’ve also noticed there’s a much stronger bond between a female owner and a dog of either sex.


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