Study finds why dogs always save their distressed owners

Who is men's best friend? Everyone will unanimously agree that it's none other than their four-legged canine friends. There have been many movies made glorifying the undying love of a pet dog for its master—those who have watched the movie, 'Hachi: A Dog's Tale' will agree to what we are trying to say here. This hauntingly beautiful movie surprises and delights us with the story of the pet dog Hachiko, who waited for years in a railway station for its dead owner, played by Richard Gere, to return. Hachiko is not only a legend in Japan, but is well known worldwide.
It's not just their loyalty and love for which dogs are well-known, they also have this uncanny habit of rescuing their owners when in trouble. Researchers have found that pet dogs will always come to the rescue of their troubled owners as long as they knew how.

As per a report from IANS, the researchers carried out the study to know how or why dogs rescue their owners. The original study report was published in the journal PLOS ONE. According to Joshua Van Bourg, the study researcher from Arizona State University, US, it is not easy to understand much about a dog's rescue behaviour simply by watching it save someone. The challenge lies in figuring out why they do what they do.
To arrive at an answer to the question of why dogs rescue their owners when in distress, the researchers conducted a very interesting experiment. Around 60 dog owners and their pets participated in the test where the owners were locked inside large cardboard boxes with loosely attached doors, which the dogs could easily break to reach the owners. Interestingly, the dogs didn't have prior training to rescue people.

The owners, once inside the large boxes, were made to feign a cry of help saying "help me" or "help". On hearing their respective owner's distressful voice, almost one-third of the participant dogs managed to locate their rightful owner and barged inside the box to rescue them. The researchers found that two factors played crucial roles in making the dogs run to their owner's rescue—first is how intensely a dog wanted to help and the second factor was how well they understood the gravity of the situation and what kind of help the owner required. Mainly, the dog's desire and intelligence are the two factors that motivates them to save their owners during distress. That's interesting, isn't it?

(With inputs from IANS)

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