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Is Your Fido Really a Furry Baby?

Study found dog's bond to owner mirrors child's connection with parent

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The finding provides evidence for a secure base effect in dogs that mirrors the bond found in infant-caregiver relationships, they explained.

One expert offered a caveat.

It's possible the dogs were less hungry when their owners were not there, noted Dr. Katherine Houpt, professor emeritus of Cornell University's College of Veterinary Medicine.

"Certainly dogs are attached to us. They may be upset when their owners are away even if they don't show behaviors like trash tearing," she said. "Their performance showed that they did better when the owner was there and it didn't seem to make a difference if the owner was encouraging them or not. As long as the owner was there, they would try as hard as they were going to try," Houpt added.

Horn concluded in a statement that the authors aim to continue their research by directly comparing behaviors in dogs and children.

"One of the things that really surprised us is that adult dogs behave towards their caregivers like human children do. It will be really interesting to try to find out how this behavior evolved in the dogs with direct comparisons [children]," Horn said.

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