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Is your dog a pessimist or an optimist? It could explain his behavior, researchers say

We always used to refer to one of our dogs as our “optimistic doggy.” Whenever we were in the kitchen, our dog was sure that we would give her some food. Occasionally she was proved right…something would be dropped to the floor. It looks like we were right in calling her an optimist after-all.

The following excerpt is from an article written by Amina Khan for Los Angeles Times on October 14, 2010:

If your dog is misbehaving, it might be because he’s a food-dish-half-empty kind of canine. That’s the word from a study published in Current Biology this week.

The University of Bristol researchers wanted to see if separation-related behavior — all that howling, pooping and wholesale furniture trashing some dogs engage in when their humans leave them home alone — might be related to a dog’s underlying state of mind. Were some dogs more upbeat and others more prone to negative behavior?

The scientists set up an experiment. They put a dish with food in one corner, and an empty dish in the other, training the dogs to recognize which was which. Then they began putting the dishes in “ambiguous” places between the two corners, and saw which dogs ran quickly over to a dish — apparently hoping for food — and which dogs hung back, keeping their expectations low.

Click here to read the full article.

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