Dogs run to the rescue of sobbing owners, study finds

Dogs have been found to not only empathise with their owners but also want to help them when they are in distress

The dogs who did end up opening the door showed lower signs of stress which implies that they were trying to keep a calm head in order to optimize their assistance. Meanwhile, in the trials where they acted distressed, they were told to make crying sounds in between their calls. And according to a new study, your pet dog may be happy to help. The researchers measured how the animals would react after seeing and hearing their owners through the door. The researchers suggest the dogs may have been too upset or anxious that they couldn't figure out what to do in the situation-a behavior that can sometimes be observed in humans as well. However, in some cases, the researchers got only around 20 seconds before the dogs opened the door, ending the trial.

To test how dogs would respond to suffering, half of the owners were instructed to say the word "help" in a distressed tone of voice every 15 seconds, making crying noises in between.

There are some limitations to mention about the research: the sample size was relatively small, and the researchers rather comically point out that the humming and crying abilities of the dog owners did vary considerably.

Now scientists have found pet dogs share the same instinct as the film pet and will spring into action if they think their owner is in trouble.

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The research team wanted to see if the dogs would open the door more often when their owners cried. On the other hand, it was the dogs who didn't open the door in the humming condition that gazed at their owners more than those who opened it. To behave empathetically toward another individual, you must not only be aware of the distress of another person, but also suppress your own stress enough to help out. There have been some mixed results with this test, but the idea is that a dog who spends more time looking at their owner during this task may have a stronger bond with their owner than a dog that doesn't spend much time looking at their owner.

Meyers-Manor reports that she was playing with her children, who buried her under a mound of pillows.

"It seems like the dogs [who didn't go through the door] would get more and more stressed by the crying but that they then sort of became paralyzed and [were] not able to do anything", Meyers-Manor told Live Science.

While everyone hopes their dog would help them if they ever were in trouble, we found that numerous dogs did not. "It might be that they love you too much".

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