It’s not uncommon for pup Mommies and Daddies to use treats as rewards for training – even if some prefer to reward their fur balls with affection instead.
It’s a popular idea that pups respond best to food, but new research in a study conducted by Emory University neuroscientists suggests that they actually prefer human affection and praise to snacks! The study had two parts. In the first, researches trained 13 fur balls to associate different toys with different things. One toy was to be associated with food, another was to be associated with praise from their Mommy or Daddy, and the third was a hairbrush associated with no rewards.
It must have been fun training those pups! Researchers then used an fMRI scanner to measure neural activity within the pup’s brains when they responded to each toy. Nine of the pups indicated similar responses to both praise and food. But four pups responded more strongly to the toy associated with praise while only two preferred the toy linked with food. Hmm!
Then came the second experiment in the study. The pups were trained to run through a Y-shaped maze, meaning they ran straight down one path until they arrived at a fork in the road. One path would lead to their Mommies or Daddies, and the other led to food. And guess what? 80%-90% of the time, the fur balls chose to go to their parents! Aww! How sweet!
So the next time you’re considering buying more treats for training, or if you’re noticing that your fur ball is getting a bit chubby, why not consider switching to pets and cuddles for rewards? You might be surprised by the results! Do share this with other pup parents to let them know!
Feature Image Source: Pixabay