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Your Dog Really Does Want to Rescue You, Research Finds

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The trope of a dog bounding to the rescue of a human is a well established one – from the helpful St. Bernard to Lassie – but does it have any scientific backing?A new study says that yes, our canine companions really do want to rescue us from harm – as long as they know how, that is.
To try and get a clear idea of whether dogs were acting on an impulse to rescue, rather than a desire to get food or simply to make contact with their owners, the researchers ran a series of carefully constructed experiments.The main tests involved 60 pet dogs, presented with their owner trapped inside a large box, with a lightweight door that could easily be shifted by the pooches.The dog owners were coached to cry out for help from inside the box in an authentic way.”About one-third of the dogs rescued their distressed owner, which doesn’t sound too impressive on its own, but really is impressive when you take a closer look,” says psychologist Joshua Van Bourg, from Arizona State University.
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