Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Do Dogs Have A Sense of Fairness?

Yes, according to a study by a study at the University of Vienna, Austria (probably not coincidentally, the alma mater of Sigmund Freud):

"Animals react to inequity," said Friederike Range of the University of Vienna, Austria, who lead a team of researchers testing animals at the school's Clever Dog Lab. "To avoid stress, we should try to avoid treating them differently."
Read the rest here. One wonders if that fairness extends to conceding that they should be leashed outside of dog hours and outside of designated park areas so that other patrons can enjoy the park too. But since their owners owners don't seem to think so, what should we expect from the poor dogs?

* * *

Around 7:40 this morning, a white male had one terrier leashed and the other running way add, off-leash up the southeast side of the lake from Park Circle. About 30 minutes later, we saw an older black male near the rink with what looked to be an elderly gray poodle, which was unleashed but just sitting there. Around 8:15, we saw two Russian-speaking males trailed by a large unleashed black dog who/that was wandering through the brush on Breeze Hill. We observed 2 or 3 other leashed dogs. And around 10:30 a young middle-aged couple wearing blackish clothes had their German shepherd mix unleashed in the south lullwater.

1 comment:

Datnioides said...

The fairness test, as stated, didn't ring true with me. Any dog, even with no other dogs around getting treats, will get bored with performing tricks without rewards, and stop responding. Only real attention.. er, hounds will perform endlessly without treats.

My dog was not obedience trained using food treats (I used effusive praise and playtime as rewards), but I did use food as an incentive for learning such tricks as jumping through a hoop. My pit gets much more excited about performing circus stunts when I have cheese in hand!