Researchers at the University of Vienna examined the relationship between canines and their owners in a study published in PLOS ONE on June 21. The study tested whether the "secure base effect" exists between dogs and their owners, “i.e. using the owner as a secure base for interacting with the environment,” as it does between parents and children, according to the study.
During the study, researchers examined how the behavior of 20 adult dogs changed depending on whether their owner was present or absent.
It provides evidence for an owner-specific secure base effect, which is crucial for balancing the maturing infants' exploration of the world with maintaining proximity to the caregiver, in dogs.
The researchers also found that the presence or absence of the owner during a test situation might substantially influence dogs' motivation and alter the outcome of the test—an important finding for future research that could include canines.
To read the full study, click here.