Science Says Your Dog Wants Affection More Than It Wants Your Snacks

by Robert Anthony

You think you know what your dog wants, but you have NO idea.

While most dog owners typically lean on tasty dog treats and vibrant squeaky toys keep their pups in good spirits, it turns out that your dog might actually just want a hug instead.

In a recent study conducted for the Social Cognitive And Affective Neuroscience journal, researchers examined 15 dogs while the canines were either rewarded with supportive social interaction or snacks.

Using a toy horse and a toy car, researchers utilized each trinket to gauge whether or not the dogs would prefer to settle for snacks or tender lover and care.

When each of the dogs was shown the toy car, they received a treat. When each of the dogs was shown a toy horse, however, they received praise and affection from their owners.

A report by IFL Science regarding the study revealed,

Once the dogs had firmly learned these associations, the study authors used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to measure their brain activity when they saw the toy car or horse. In particular, they focussed on a region called the ventral caudate, which is part of the brain's reward circuit and responds to the expectation of receiving rewards.

As a result, nine of the dogs studied responded with equal interest to both toys. Four of the dogs gravitated more toward the toy horse which offered social interaction, while the two remaining dogs preferred the dog treats they were rewarded after reacting to the toy car.

Looking for more convincing evidence that the dogs actually preferred affection instead of treats, the researchers conducted a second experiment that required the dogs to walk through a maze with two separate exits.

One of the exits led to dog treats while the other led to the dog's owner.

Again, they preferred the social interaction rather than the food. The report went to say,

To back up this finding, the team then designed a second experiment in which the dogs were placed in a simple Y-shaped maze with two exits, one of which led to their owner while the other led to a bowl of food. All dogs showed the same preferences as they had in the brain imaging tests, with all but two showing an equal or greater tendency to run to their owner over the food.

In other words, dogs just want the simple, sweet things in life! Even they know material items lack genuineness.

Well, there you have it, folks -- yet another reason why your dog just might actually be smarter than you.

Here are a few celebrities who just get it.

Kylie Jenner

Kim Kardashian

Kanye West

John Cena

Kendall Jenner

The Rock

Justin Bieber

Selena Gomez

Citations: Dogs Prefer Tummy Tickles To Treats, According To Science (IFL Science)