'Dogs try to comfort people in distress'
London, June 10 (IANS) When they see people crying, pet dogs can be affectionate and try to comfort them, new research says.
A group of pet dogs was tested with their owners and then strangers, talking, pretending to cry, or humming. Far more dogs come up and touch people when they think they are crying.
"The humming was designed to be a relatively novel behaviour, which might be likely to pique the dogs' curiosity. The fact that the dogs differentiated between crying and humming indicates that their response to crying was not purely driven by curiosity," said Deborah Custance of Goldsmiths, University of London, who conducted the study.
"Rather, the crying carried greater emotional meaning for the dogs and provoked a stronger overall response than either humming or talking," Custance said, reports the Daily Mail.
Significantly more dogs looked at, approached and touched the humans as they were crying as opposed to humming, and no dogs responded during talking.
The majority of dogs studied responded to the crying person in a submissive manner consistent with empathic concern and comfort-offering.
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