A new study at says our pet dogs could be putting on a show for our benefit. You just have to pay attention and let them know you're watching. The study highlighted on phys.org says our dogs are far more likely to play with one another when their owner is present and being attentive.
We know our canine companions are tuned in to our interest in them... my dog Jet runs around like crazy with his toys when I sing and jump around. But animal behaviorist Lindsay Mehrkam says "research has really shown the effect of a human audience on dog to dog play." Do you have 2 or more dogs?
In an experiment involving 10 pairs of pet dogs that had lived together for at least 6 months, the duos ordinarily engaged in play at least once a day. But when the owner was watching and showering them with attention, praising and petting them, the play between the dogs increased! The dogs engaged in more wrestling, chasing, gentle bites and so on. But why?
Researchers think that an owner's attention might be a reward the dogs are seeking, like kids pleading with their parents to watch them as they show off what they can do. Plus they might get a bigger treat, and their owner might join in on the fun.
So keep playing with your dog, and watching your dogs play together, because they want you to!