A neuroscientist from Emory says that dogs may prefer praise from their owners over food.
“We are trying to understand the basis of the dog-human bond and whether it’s mainly about food, or about the relationship itself,” says Gregory Berns, a neuroscientist at Emory University and lead author of the research. “Out of the 13 dogs that completed the study, we found that most of them either preferred praise from their owners over food, or they appeared to like both equally. Only two of the dogs were real chowhounds, showing a strong preference for the food.”
Dogs were at the center of the most famous experiments of classical conditioning, conducted by Ivan Pavlov in the early 1900s. Pavlov showed that if dogs are trained to associate a particular stimulus with food, the animals salivate in the mere presence of the stimulus, in anticipation of the food.
“One theory about dogs is that they are primarily Pavlovian machines: They just want food and their owners are simply the means to get it,” Berns says. “Another, more current, view of their behavior is that dogs value human contact in and of itself.”
The experiments lay the groundwork for asking more complicated questions about the canine experience of the world. The Berns’ lab is currently exploring the ability of dogs to process and understand human language.
“Dogs are hypersocial with humans,” Berns says, “and their integration into human ecology makes dogs a unique model for studying cross-species social bonding.”
To reach that conclusion, I can only assume that no Golden Retrievers were included in the study.
Macon-Bibb County Animal Welfare is taking in an unusually high number of dogs and cats this year and is asking for volunteers from the community to help, according to the Macon Telegraph.
the Animal Welfare Department is in need for more volunteers to help take care of some of the daily routines — walking dogs, laundry, cleaning and answering phones — so shelter employees can focus more on adoptions and working with rescue groups.
The warmer months usually mean more animals are brought into the shelter. But this year more puppies and kittens than normal have come in, possibly in part due to a milder winter, said Bill Fickling, chairman of the Macon-Bibb animal welfare task force.
“We have volunteers down there daily and have had for many years, but for whatever reason there has been a bigger problem (this year) than we normally have,” he said. “Even if you have a couple extra hours during the day to volunteer, it would be helpful. It’s a case where if you share the workload it’s a lot easier to manage the shelter. Quite frankly (the employees) have been overworked because of the larger volume and so the volunteers have been overworked as well.”
A former Gwinnett County Jail inmate credits his participation in the Jail Dogs program with changing his life for the better, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post.
On Monday, he shook off nervousness to stand at a podium in front of more than a dozen inmates in a room at the jail. Fine spoke live on camera.
“This program changed my life,” he said. “It gave me the opportunity to take a moment and get out of head and heal; to focus on other things.”
He got depressed and reached the lowest point in his life before signing up for the Jail Dogs program. It boosted his spirits while he took time to forgive himself, and his canine companion stuck with him 24/7.
“The dogs had been ravaged and without any type of love,” Fine said. “But they still show you love.”
The Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office and the Society of Humane Friends of Georgia started the program in 2010. Since then, more than 200 dogs have been rescued, trained and taken in by new families.
Female inmates began to work with cats in a separate housing unit in 2013.
Kasidy is a 5-month old female Labrador Retriever mix puppy who is available for adoption from Macon Bibb County Animal Welfare in Macon, GA.
Gretchen is a 4-month old female Labrador Retriever mix puppy who is available for adoption from Macon Bibb County Animal Welfare in Macon, GA.
Josie is a 4-month old female Labrador Retriever mix puppy who is available for adoption from Macon Bibb County Animal Welfare in Macon, GA.