Monday, October 11, 2010

Bristol U Research Says: Dogs Are Either Optimists or Pessimists.

Breaking news today, dog folks.  Researchers at Bristol University think they have discovered that dogs can have either a cheerful or gloomy outlook on life in general.

They used conditioning with food bowls half-full and half-empty in different parts of a room, and then placed them at random spots in the room to see how the dogs react.  If the dogs ran to the bowls to check, they were labelled optimists.  If they approached more slowly, they were labelled pessimists, with the researchers' belief being that the dogs expected to find the bowl half-empty.

I'm not sure how this study was conducted, and although I do believe dogs have moods and personalities, I have to say I have my doubts about this one.

Maybe the dogs that didn't run just aren't the perpetually hungry, food-driven type of canine.  My mom's dog barely eats.  Ever.  Trying to tempt her to be cheerful about a bowlful of any kibble is going to meet with Epic Fail.  If you use cookies, that's another matter entirely.

Labradors are eternal optimists:  Somewhere, something is going to be vaguely edible.  They just know it.  Ooh, look!  A bar of soap!  That works.  (True story.)  They are extremely happy to be eating no matter what it is or the amount involved.  Notorious for it.  Use food in a study of Labradors and you will come away with the idea that the Labrador is ecstatic.

They'll have to get back to me with the results of a less corruptible study.  I'd like to see it proven, if only to be able to rub in it to all the non-believers.  (I told you so I told you so, nyah!)  I just don't think this way really did it.

As always, I'd love to hear what everyone else thinks.  Bombard me with your comments!

1 comment:

  1. How does the dog know the difference between half full and half empty?

    Sometimes these studies make me laugh hysterically. Like the one that showed that dogs can tell when your eyes are closed. Um, duh. Mine can tell when I'm faking being asleep, too. Why spend time and money on a study when you can just survey a bunch of pet owners?