How quickly your dog responds to you has a lot to do with the look on your face and the tone of your voice, according to a study at Brigham Young University.
Your dog may not respond more quickly if you use a positive tone, but he’s likely to respond much more slowly if you’re using a negative one, according to the study, published in the journal Animal Cognition.
Brigham Young psychology professor Ross Flom and his research team conducted two experiments examining how dogs reacted to both positive and negative emotions.
“We know that dogs are sensitive to our emotional cues,” Flom said, “but we wanted to know: do they use these emotional cues?” he said.
The experiments measured how quickly dogs responded to an adult’s pointing gesture.
Some of the adults exhibited positive behaviors while making the gestures, such as smiling and speaking in a pleasant tone; others exhibited negative behaviors, such as frowning, furrowing their brow or speaking harshly.
As most dog owners could have predicted, the negative behaviors made dogs a little less cooperative and slow to react — proving yet again (as we also already know) you can catch more flies with honey than vinegar.
(Has anyone actually done a study on that?)
While dogs who sensed the pointing adults were angry reacted more slowly, dogs whose pointing adults reflected a positive attitude didn’t react any more speedily than those in a control group.
We can only assume those in the control group were issued orders by adults whose faces were expressionless and who spoke like Ben Stein.
Flom concluded that dogs use our tone and emotion to determine how fast to follow an order — or, to put it more scientifically …
“Together these results suggest that the addition of affective information does not significantly increase or decrease dogs’ point-following behavior. Rather these results demonstrate that the presence or absence of affective expressions influences a dog’s exploratory behavior and the presence or absence of reward affects whether they will follow an unfamiliar adult’s attention-directing gesture.”
Apparently, random human strangers were doing the gesturing in the study, as opposed to the owners of the dogs involved.
That, we suspect, would have made a big difference in a dog’s level of trust and eagerness to respond.
That dogs will take off and explore a new area or object based on a stranger’s request shows that dogs generally trust humans.
That dogs — or any animals for that matter — are slow to react to one who appears angry is really no big surprise, either.
That’s generally true in the human arena as well, with the exception of those being yelled at by drill sergeants, prison guards or junior high gym coaches.
Posted by John Woestendiek May 25th, 2016 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: adults, anger, angry, animals, attitude, behaviors, brigham young university, cognition, directing, dog, dogs, emotions, experiment, face, gestures, harsh, humans, negative, owners, pets, pointing, positive, psychology, study, tones, voice
The video above is pretty cute, but on top of making us chuckle it’s a pretty good example of what’s wrong with the news media these days.
Well, make that at least three things that are wrong with the news media these days.
First, the news organizations that have featured it on their websites in the last week almost all make you watch 30 seconds to a minute of advertising before seeing the 38-second video.
Second, the video was posted on the Internet more than two years ago, which hardly rates as news — even under today’s definition.
Third, and most annoying, almost every single news site that has picked up the old video (from Jukinmedia.com) characterizes the dog’s actions as “revenge.”
That’s anthropomorphic, and just plain wrong.
Clearly, the little girl is poking the resting dog with her feet. Quite possibly, the dog got annoyed and adjusted his position.
But we highly doubt the dog is exacting “revenge” on the girl. True, we can’t read the mind of a dog, either — much less that of a dog in a video — but the far more likely explanation is that the dog is trying to create a cooler and more comfortable spot to rest in.
Jukinmedia.com, when it published the video, described it as showing a dog getting “revenge” on the girl “by throwing sand in her face” and “making her crawl away in fear.”
Apparently, they didn’t watch enough of it to see the little girl laughing about it all.
But what’s far lazier is how, two years later, mostly-reputable news websites such as The Telegraph, ABC News, AOL and the Orlando Sentinel have all featured the video this month under a “dog gets revenge” headline. Of all the news organizations we found carrying the video, only KOMO in Seattle didn’t characterize the dog’s actions as revenge.
Are we nitpicking, or do readers/viewers deserve something better than old, innacurate, repackaged “news” when the only thing new about it is the length of the ad we have to watch before seeing it?
Are we going to accept that, or should we kick a little sand in their faces?
Posted by John Woestendiek October 15th, 2015 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, behavior, digging, dog, dogs, face, girl, internet, journalism, karma, kicking, kicks, news, news media, old news, pets, regurgitated, repackaged, revenge, sand, video, websites