- Researchers compared the favorite foods and toys of ten dogs
- They found that 90 percent of pets preferred the food to the toys
Whether it’s a squeaky ball or a fluffy plush toy, many dogs have a favorite toy.
However, a study has found that these toys take a backseat to 90 percent of pooches – when it comes to food.
Researchers at the University of Florida found that nine out of 10 dogs prefer food over toys.
In the study, the team compared ten pets’ favorite foods and toys and found that the vast majority responded more strongly to the food.
Dr. Nicole Dorey, lead author of the study, said: “I was surprised, but no one has looked at how dogs serve as toys versus food.”
Whether it’s a squeaky ball or a fluffy plush toy, many dogs have a favorite toy. However, a study has found that these toys take a backseat to 90 percent of pooches – when it comes to food (stock image)
The team compared ten dogs’ favorite foods and toys and found that the vast majority responded more strongly to the food
While previous studies have shown that dogs prefer their favorite people over food, there has been little research into how dogs prioritize their favorite toys.
The US team recruited ten domestic dogs of various breeds, including two German Shepherds, a German Shorthaired Pointer, a Labrador and six mixed breeds.
The dogs were shown six types of food—hot dogs, carrots, cheese, kibble, a hard dog treat, or a soft dog treat—as well as six toys, including a tennis ball, a tug toy, a squeaky toy, and an empty water bottle.
Each dog then had the opportunity to choose their favorite toy and food.
In a follow-up experiment, the dogs were given increasingly difficult tasks in order to receive a reward. This was either her favorite food or her favorite toy.
The results showed that nine out of ten dogs gave up the task sooner when they were offered the toy than when they were given their favorite treat.
This suggests that they are willing to work harder for food than for toys.
The researchers hope the results could be useful for dog owners trying to train their pet.
“You can definitely train your dog with toys if you start very early,” said Dr. Dorey.
“That’s what you do with search and rescue dogs. They start using toys as reinforcement very early.”
The results showed that nine out of ten dogs gave up the task sooner when they were offered the toy than when they were given their favorite treat (stock image)
The study comes shortly after research found that giving anxious dogs a toy to chew on can help improve their memory.
US researchers evaluated the performance of 34 Labrador retrievers on a working memory task that required them to remember which bucket a treat had been placed in over a short period of time.
The dogs were given a chew toy to bite for five minutes immediately before the task, and the frequency of bites was recorded by a computer program.
Before the experiment, trainers who had worked with the dogs for at least a month completed the behavioral assessment and canine research questionnaire to rate each dog on their “fearfulness level.”
The researchers at Auburn University in Alabama found: “In dogs with high anxiety, increased chewing when they had access to a chew toy was associated with better spatial working memory, while in dogs with low anxiety the opposite was true.”
Chewing is thought to reduce physiological arousal in anxious dogs and help them concentrate, while chewing can cause a distraction in more relaxed dogs.
WHAT ARE THE TEN COMMON MYTHS ABOUT DOGS?
It’s easy to think that dogs like what we like, but that’s not always entirely true.
Here are ten things people should keep in mind when trying to understand their pets, according to animal behavior experts Dr. Melissa Starling and Dr. Paul McGreevy from the University of Sydney.
1. Dogs don’t like to share
2. Not all dogs like being hugged or petted
3. A barking dog is not always an aggressive dog
4. Dogs don’t like it when other dogs enter their territory/house
5. Dogs like to be active and don’t need as much relaxation time as humans
6. Not all dogs are overly friendly, some are more shy to begin with
7. A dog that appears friendly can quickly become aggressive
8. Dogs need space and new areas to explore. Playing in the garden is not always enough
9. Sometimes a dog isn’t misbehaving, he just doesn’t understand what to do or what you want
10. Subtle facial signals often prevent barking or snapping when a dog is unhappy