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Dogs will always share their treats with their friends

29 January 2017, 7:27:14

Online Desk:Recent research has found that dogs, like humans, rats, and chimpanzees, demonstrate generosity toward their peers.

Now, scientists have taken the experiment a step further, using a complex setup to see just how far this prosocial behaviour extends.

The study revealed that even in the more difficult tasks, dogs still share treats with others – but they’re more likely to be generous with their friends.

The dogs were also allowed to reward themselves at the end of the tests by touching the token that would deliver the treat to them.

In the previous experiment, researchers from the University of Veterinary Medicine in Vienna used a bar-pulling task to allow dogs to deliver treats to a partner.

This time, the team trained the dogs to recognize distinct tokens to deliver a food reward to a partner.

‘This time we not only tested a different experimental set-up but also the level of difficulty,’ said Rachel Dale of the Messerli Research Institute at Vetmeduni Vienna.

‘The dogs were first trained to touch a token in exchange for a food reward for themselves.

‘They were then trained to recognize two or more tokens: one that resulted in a reward being delivered to a partner dog and one which did not.’

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