Dogs Can Run Out of Self Control, Too!

People are not the only creatures that run out of self control. According to a study published in Springer’s Psychonomic Bulletin,dogs can also make impulsive decisions that put them in harm’s way.

The study by Holly Miller from the University of Lille Nord de France and her colleagues wanted to know if mentally fatigued dogs do not think straight and are more likely to take risks that may result in physical harm.

The researches recruited 10 dogs and trained them to sit still for 10 minutes, thereby exerting self-control, or put them in a cage in which they were free to move. Afterward, the dogs were walked into a room in which a barking, growling dog was caged. The dogs spent 4 minutes in the room but were free to choose where in the room they spent their time. Although approaching the other dog was a natural response for the dogs, it was also the riskier choice.

Those dogs that had exerted self-control by sitting still beforehand spent more time in close proximity to the aggressive dog compared with those dogs that had been caged: 59% vs. 42%.

According to Miller and her team, the research provides evidence that the phenomenon of self-control depletion, once believed to be uniquely human, can be found in dogs.

[courtesy: AAHA Trends Magazine]