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Dogs 'prefer petting over praise'


Tuesday September 9th 2014

A dog may be a man's best friend, but that doesn't mean it wants to talk to him.

Scientists in the US found that dogs have a preference for petting over being spoken to.

And while a stroke on the head was welcome from both owners and strangers alike, dogs will only respond to vocal praise from their owner.

The study, led by Dr Erica Feuerbacher from the University of Florida, looked at a number of dogs in different circumstances - including shelter dogs, owned dogs with their owner and owned ones with strangers.

In all combinations, dogs were found to prefer petting over praise and in addition, never tired of being stroked.

Researchers also found that when dogs were petted they tended to stay nearby. Meanwhile vocal praise showed no such preference.

The experts concluded that vocal praise has to be specifically conditioned, unlike petting.

Copyright Press Association 2014