Most people think dogs are happy all the time, but experts say that’s not the case. In fact, new research shows that some dogs are optimists and some are pessimists. Here are the details: Researchers at Bristol University's School of Veterinary Science videotaped dogs when they were left alone after a long play session. Some of the animals didn’t mind being on their own, but others barked excessively, urinated on things, and chewed the furniture.
The next day, each dog was trained to walk to a food bowl, which was sometimes full and sometimes empty. Then, the researchers sat back and watched. The result: Animals that were calm during the earlier test, ran to the bowl expecting it to be full, and they were labeled “optimists.” The dogs who were unhappy when they were alone and misbehaved, didn’t bother to check the bowl at all. The researchers believe those dogs assumed the bowl would be empty. So they were labeled “pessimists.”
What’s this mean to you? Samantha Gaines of the SPCA says that the knowledge can help you teach your dog to cope with being alone. Because pessimist dogs are thinking, “Oh no, my owner’s gone forever” while the more optimistic dog is thinking, “I can’t wait until my owner comes back.” Experts say that one way to train your pet to be more optimistic is to spend time on the weekends coming and going frequently. Don’t make a fuss as soon as you walk in the door. Ignore them for a few seconds, and then lavish them with attention, which tells them – “You don’t have to be anxious. It’s normal for me to leave, and I’m always coming back.”