In addition to cats, dogs are one of the most common pets in the world. They are loved by almost everyone, but when these funny creatures spoil furniture or shoes that are on their doorstep, the owners shout at and punish them. According to Portuguese scientists, it is absolutely impossible to insult your pets as they are immediately under stress, which negatively affects their health. To prove this, they performed an experiment, the results of which were published in the bioRxiv archive of scientific documents.
In the course of the study, the scientists studied in detail how the owners' negative and positive attitude affects the health of dogs. The author of the scientific work was a biologist named Ana Katarina Vieira de Castro. She and her colleagues have included 42 dogs from three specialty schools in the experiment, where they are rewarded for success. In addition, 50 dogs from four schools took part in the scientific work, where they were trained with the "whip method", that is, they were punished for failing.
Do dogs have stress?
At the beginning of the study, the scientists took saliva samples from non-participating domestic dogs, who only rested and conducted their business throughout the day. Thanks to their saliva, the researchers discovered which level of the stress hormone cortisol is stress-free in the body of pets.
Then scientists began to study trained dogs. After a 15-minute training session, saliva samples were taken from both dog groups. It turned out that people who practiced with the "whip method" had a much higher stress factor than dogs that received a reward for their success. At least this has been proven by an increased cortisol level, which increases especially in stressful situations. The scientists also noticed that dogs often yawned and licked their lips when they were scolding. This is a clear indicator of stressful behavior.
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Why can not you scold dogs?
One month after the first experiment, the scientists decided to find out how the stress experienced affects the behavior of the dog in the future. The same people participated in another experiment, where they had to look for a bowl of delicious food. Initially, the dogs were told that the dishes with the food were on one side of the room and the empty bowl was in the other corner. Then the scientists set up the bowls elsewhere and began to monitor how enthusiastic the dogs were looking for the treat.
It turned out that animals under stress hoped to find less delicious food than healthy people. We can say that the first group of dogs became more pessimistic and therefore more unhappy. So if you want your pet to always be in a good mood and happy, try to calm down his antics. After all, we are all responsible for those who have tamed and know exactly that pets can give us "surprises" in the form of spoiled furniture.
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If you would like more interesting information about dogs, I recommend the BBC: Dog Secrets 2010 documentation. The most interesting point in this film is a comparison of the intelligence of a dog to the mental abilities of a young child. The results of the study are amazing without exaggeration.