How do you give your dog treats? Are they often given randomly, or do you require that they do a trick or follow a cue first? According to new research, dogs may actually prefer the latter!
This Swedish study, run by the University of Agricultural Sciences’ Dr Ragen Mcgowan, involved 12 beagles, split into pairs. Each pair had each dog learn a set of three different tricks. Let’s call Dog A the experimental dog, and Dog B the control dog.
After one week of training, the dogs were called in. First, researchers called in Dog A and asked the dog to perform the three tricks it had learned. Within the span of five minutes, they were allowed to pick their reward between a human, a dog playmate, or a treat.
Researchers then called in Dog B. They asked the dog to perform the same tricks as Dog A, although Dog B did not learn those tricks. Then, after being unable to complete the tasks, they were given the choice of the reward, too.
The results were surprising. After many repetitions, Dog A was found to be much more excited and happier than Dog B, often waiting eagerly waiting to go back into the room. Meanwhile, dog B would be reluctant to go back inside.
What does this mean? Well, dogs like having to earn their treats! They like positive feedback for their achievements. So the next time you’re about to hand your dog a treat, consider giving them a cue first!
Feature Image Source: Pixabay