The researchers found that dogs synchronize their movements with children in their families, about half that of adults in their families.
NOEL KING, HOST:
Today is National Puppy Day. And if you have a puppy, you know he can be clingy. They look to their owners for advice and praise and, of course, treats. Now this is understandable in a scientific sense. You are the pack leader.
STEVE INSKEEP, HTE:
It means that you are a pack leader, Noel, at your home there.
KING: Of course (laughs).
INSKEEP: But a study from Oregon State University suggests that family dogs also draw inspiration from the smaller members of the pack.
MONIQUE UDELL: They synchronize their behavior with children to a greater extent than one would expect by chance, that is, when their child is walking or orienting in a particular direction, the dogs will match it. .
INSKEEP: Professor Monique Udell led the study. His team took a child and his dog to a large, wide open arena.
UDELL: We have tape on the floor with different markings and different colors that indicate whether the child should walk slowly, walk fast, stop, or change direction. We are really interested in what the dog freely chooses to do in this situation.
INSKEEP: Dogs have freely chosen to stay with their children, regardless of breed.
KING: Scientifically speaking, it seems to mean that your dog loves your child. Now, dogs tend to mirror their adults more closely than children. But Monique Udell thinks it’s because adults are more involved in babysitting.
UDELL: And we think there is great potential to improve that bond between children and dogs by encouraging children to take more responsibility in day care activities and also giving them the opportunity to train their dogs.
KING: More bond between dogs and children means less work for parents. Welcome to National Puppy Day.
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