The Lassie Effect: Study Looks at Empathy in Dogs

Dogs comfort and try to help too

Dogs are thought to be very aware of people’s emotions, but if a pup’s owner was really upset, would he actually go out of his way to offer help and comfort?

Some not only will, a new study found, they’ll overcome obstacles to do it.

In a paper called Timmy’s in the well: Empathy and prosocial helping in dogs, just published in the journal Learning & Behavior, researchers showed that dogs with strong bonds to their owners hurried to pushed through a door when they heard their person crying. The name of the paper is an homage to Lassie, the canine superhero of 1950s TV.

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