So many dog owners consider their dogs part of the family. We often wonder if dogs also think of us as family. The answer may be obvious, since dogs are so loyal to their owners. But science has proved it!
According to researchers at the University of Veterinary Medicine in Vienna, Austria, dogs form a secure base with their human owners. This is based off a classic psychology study done with children and their parents. A secure base is incredibly important to child development and, as we know now, for dogs as well.
For this experiment, researchers created a puzzle that led to a treat. They found that dogs were less motivated to complete the puzzle when the their owners were absent. Researchers then had owners join their dogs by either being entirely silent or as active motivators. It was found that dogs were much more motivated whether the owner was silent or encouraging. To expel doubt, researchers also used strangers in the same way and it didn’t impact the dogs motivation to get their treat.
This research shows that dogs use owners as a secure base. To further their research, they placed a piece of an owners clothing or strangers clothing and dog in the same room. The dog didn’t care for the strangers clothing, but would lay with or paw their owner’s.
Our dogs definitely consider us as parents and rely on us for security, love and reassurance.