Testing dogs in the "Strange Situation" produces heartbreaking results. Read More
And then there is the study about the dog being less distressed when near its owner than with another dog from its own household.
Only 20 people and their dogs? Not much of a sample, that's for sure! What KIND of dogs? Wag friendly vacuous genetically lobotomized golden retrievers, or intensely loyal one-person types like akitas? What was the actual relationship of the owners with their dogs? The casual type of owner that throws out a bit of kibble once a day, deigns to give the dog a pat or two; or the person who does EVERYTHING with their dog, and are super-bonded? How LONG was this separation? Doesn't sound like it was very long--most well adjusted dogs handle short separations just fine--already accustomed to them from trips to the vet, boarding, etc. and yet this SWEEPING generalization about ALL DOGS and their people? Maybe it has more to do with that particular human culture than dog/people relations! Sounds like a very poor experiment that pretends to be more important than it is. Lots of such dumbo experiments about dogs out there.....
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Rebecca Coffey is a science journalist and broadcast commentator with Vermont Public Radio.
When and how should we open up to loved ones?