funded by the U.K. s’ own Royal Society for the prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The name of the
researcher is Emily Blackwell. Also, she is a animal behaviorist at the University of Bristol. The main plan
was to create a test which would predict whether shelter dogs are prone to have issues with separation
after they are adopted. The research involved looking at the dogs’ emotional state says Emily Blackwell.
They study was demonstrated on the moods of 24 different dogs from two different shelters.
Basically, the test was demonstrated as follows: a dog was held behind a screen while a metal food
bowl was placed on the other side of the screen. A bowl was on one side of the room with a treat in it. If
it was on the other side it was empty. The dog was then let loose. If the dog knew which bowl the treat
was in he raced quickly over to it. If it is on the other side he just laid down. The researchers expanded
the test. As the dogs learned the pattern, the bowls were then put in other fixed positions. Dogs than
ran to those bowls were pronounced optimistic. Dogs that were less interested were pronounced
pessimistic. The researchers also tested how the dogs behaved when they were left alone in a room.
Dogs that howled, scratched plenty or showed other separation signs were pronounced pessimistic too.
The message that Blackwell and her colleagues are trying to send out is that this could be a big
problem for dogs. Owners should think of treating this Fido separation anxiety rather than assuming it is
normal behavior. Samuel Gosling is a psychologist at the University of Texas. He says canines have
personalities that go much further than optimism and pessimism. Also, Gosling says studies are showing
that many dogs have a personality trait called neuroticism. Usually, it includes having a pessimistic
overview and being worried.... [continues]
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