When Pups Need to Know the Difference Between ‘Chickens’ and ‘Puppies’
Pups need to know their difference between chickens and pups to make good social and emotional interactions.
Pups have to learn how to distinguish between the two, and can’t help but notice that they’re both called chickens, according to a new study published online in the Journal of Animal Behavior.
The study, led by scientists at the University of California, San Diego, tested the behavior of 11 different dogs and found that while they didn’t know exactly what they were looking for, they did recognize the difference between the three types of dogs.
In fact, they often made eye contact with one another, even when they didn´t see the same type of dog, the researchers said.
What’s more, they noticed that the dogs that were identified as chickens were much more likely to be aggressive toward their owners and that they tended to make eye contact.
Puppy dogs have been known to bite, chew and steal, and the researchers were particularly interested in the effect of their owners’ interactions on the dogs.
“In many cases, the owners were not aware of the dog’s appearance and behavior,” said lead author Dr. Laura Kostek of UC San Diego.
“They didn’t realize that the dog was a dog and not a cat.”
The dogs with their owners knew, for example, that the cat was a toy and that the puppy was a puppy.
But how do they know when to call them a dog?
A study conducted in the United Kingdom and Germany suggested that dogs should be called dogs, as dogs are closely related to the species of dogs that dogs are, said study co-author Dr. Jan Hausen of the German Veterinary Medical Center, in an interview with National Geographic.
In fact, it has been suggested that we might be calling animals by the same name because they share many of the same features.
That is, animals are creatures with characteristics in common, like fur, ears and nails.
Dogs, on the other hand, are more specialized and different from other animals in that they have features that distinguish them from other mammals.
“This study shows that dogs may be considered dogs in the same way that people are considered humans, and that we can distinguish between them using visual cues,” Hauseng said.
“But we need to understand that these cues are only one component of the animal’s identity.
In the future, we might use this knowledge to develop a tool to help dogs distinguish between their own and their owners, such as identifying and training the behavior in their own dogs.”
A Puppy’s LifeThe study also tested the dogs in a lab setting and found they were more likely than their non-puppies to bark or growl when they saw their owners.
The dogs that had their owners around tended to react with a more calm and placid manner than the dogs with other people.
These dogs could also bark or run at their owners when they wanted to escape their confinement.
“They are trying to figure out whether they are being chased by an angry dog or a friendly dog,” said study senior author Dr and study coauthor Dr Marielle L. McLean, a veterinarian and dog behavior expert at UC San, in a news release.
“I am excited that this study is showing that dogs can distinguish their owners from other dogs by the behavior they exhibit when interacting with their own owners,” McLean added.
The researchers say this new research could help improve the relationship between dogs and their humans.
“While our studies do not prove that humans can be the ultimate masters of their dogs, it is promising that our research is beginning to provide an explanation for why these behaviors are the way they are,” said Kostik.
The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health.