It seems that the term “man’s best friend” may be something of a misnomer. Anew Washington State University (WSU) stud y revealed that a dogs’relationships with women have a greater impact on the dog-human bond than thepets’ relationships with men.

To fully understand the premise of the study, we have to back up and take alook at the historical origins of the human-animal bond. Dogs have spentthousands of years bonding with humans, and research cited in the studysuggests that groups of dogs and humans came together naturally, as opposed tothe commonly-held belief that humans were drawn to wolf pups and domesticatedthem. It was a symbiotic relationship—dogs served a purpose for humans; humansserved a purpose for dogs.

To that end, the study views the findings through two lenses: usefulness andpersonhood. For example, when dogs are given names and allowed to sleep in bedwith their humans, the dog’s personhood increases in the eyes of the human,while the human’s usefulness goes up in the eyes of the dog.

From those findings, a pattern emerged: dogs had more personhood to humanswhen the pup was close with a female. The reasoning behind the finding,however, is still unclear.

“Humans were more likely to regard dogs as a type of person if the dogs had aspecial relationship with women,” said Jaime Chambers, a WSU anthropologyPh.D. student and first author on the paper, in a statement. “They were morelikely to be included in family life, treated as subjects of affection and,generally, people had greater regard for them.”

Of course, women alone don’t shape a dog’s bond with humans. Other factorsthat contribute to building the relationship include temperature (pups inwarmer climates are likely to be lazier, less engaged and therefore have lessuse for humans) and hunting, where the one-on-one atmosphere builds a strongbond as both the dog and human are of equal usefulness.

Source: Kelly Lindenau Pet Business

Image: Bigstock

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