Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Healthy Dogs

Font Size

Dogs Can Be Optimists or Pessimists

Researchers Say Dogs Exhibit Behavior Related to Separation Anxiety

Negative Behaviors

The study shows that dogs that exhibit negative behaviors, such as barking or engaging in “toileting” problems, appear to make more pessimistic judgments in general.

The study is published in the Oct. 12 issue of the journal Current Biology.

Samantha Gaines, DVM, deputy head of the Companion Animals Department at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, says many dogs are abandoned because they exhibit separation-related behaviors.

The new study “suggests that at least some of these dogs may have underlying negative emotional states, and owners are encouraged to seek treatment to enhance the welfare of their dogs and minimize the need to relinquish their pet,” she says in the news release. “Some dogs may also be more prone to develop these behaviors and should be re-homed with appropriate owners.”

The research raises the possibility that some dogs may be more prone by nature to responding anxiously when left alone than others, and that this is related to their general mood.

That’s an important finding, because separation anxiety is common in dogs, and knowing which ones are or aren’t pessimists “is very important for ensuring good dog welfare,” Mendl says.

“Some owners think that dogs showing anxious behaviors in response to separation are fine and do not seek treatment for their pets.”

Visit a veterinarian if you’re worried about your dog’s emotional state.

1|2

Today on WebMD

boxer dog
Slideshow
dog on couch
Evaluator
 
bad dog
Slideshow
Sad dog and guacamole
Slideshow
 
Pit bull looking up
Article
Pets: Is My Dog Normal
Slideshow
 
Dog scratching behind ear
Slideshow
dog catching frisbee
Slideshow
 

Love your pets, hate your allergies?

Get tips for relief.

Loading ...

Sending your email...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.

Thanks!

Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

Dog Breed RMQ
Quiz
puppy eating
Slideshow
 
pooldle
Slideshow
bulldog in party hat
Slideshow