Dog to Owner Relationships Similar to That of Babies and Their Parents, Study Finds

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iStockphoto/Thinkstock(VIENNA) — A new study out Tuesday in PLoS One says dogs are similar to young children. Puppies, like babies, share a “secure base effect,” which means they are attached to their human parents for safety the same way babies are.

“The study provides the first evidence for the similarity between the “secure base effect” found in dog-owner and child-caregiver relationships. This striking parallel will be further investigated in direct comparative studies on dogs and children,” the authors said of the study, according to Medical News Today.

While this effect had already been studied in humans, this was the first time researchers observed caregivers as a secure base for canine companions.

In an experiment conducted by researchers as the Vetmeduni’s Messerli Research Institute in Austria, animals were less eager to work for a food reward when their owners were absent. Researchers also found that animals barely interacted with non-care giving humans, confirming their conclusion that the owner’s presence was essential to the pet’s confidence.

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