A new study has revealed that dogs tend to give up quickly and be more dependent on humans than their wild, wolfish counterparts.
The experiment, published in the journal Biology Letters, featured twenty dogs and ten wolves, all presented with a plastic container with a treat inside it. Given two minutes to open the container, only 5% of dogs and a whopping 80% of wolves were successful in opening the container and locating their bounty.
Many of the dogs exhibited what the author of the article terms as ‘looking-back’ behaviour: looking to the nearest human in an attempt to garner help with an impossible task. Contrastingly, most of the wolves persevered without indicating a need for assistance, and the results show that this definitely worked to their advantage.
“Domestic dogs have been recognized for their social sensitivity and aptitude for human-guided tasks”, according to the author of the article. This study has proven this and then some — by the sound of things, dogs have been so heavily conditioned to pursue the tasks we give them that they’ve realised we can do a much quicker job!
The experiment’s variables are arguable, considering wolves are a species whose survival depends on perseverance in hunting and gathering, but one thing is certain: from these statistics, the domestic dog’s status as ‘man’s best friend’ has never rung more true.