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Dogs Are Social As They Give Only 'Friends' Food

Update Date: Dec 17, 2015 10:19 PM EST

Humans need not pride themselves on being the only ones with friends. Dogs love them too, according to a new study. Scientists say that dogs share food with friends they like, according to scienceworldreport. 

"Prosociality" is a trait that is common among primates, which are human relatives. Rats and jackdaws too show some prosociality. But researchers have not been sure whether dogs were demonstrating "prosocial behaviour" toward humans, or just showing some obedience.

"Dogs and their nearest relatives, the wolves, exhibit social and cooperative behavior, so there are grounds to assume that these animals also behave prosocially toward conspecifics," said Friederike Range, one of the researchers, in a news release. "Additionally, over thousands of years of domestication, dogs were selected for special social skills."

Researchers studied the prosocial behavior of 16 dogs through bar-pulling tasks. The dogs needed to pull trays and then make up their minds whether another dog would receive a treat or not.

Researchers found that dogs' familiarity with the other dog tended to make a difference. The dogs would pull the tray more for others whom they knew.

"Dogs truly behave prosocially toward other dogs," said Range. "That had never been experimentally demonstrated before. What we also found was that the degree of familiarity among the dogs further influenced this behavior. Prosocial behavior was exhibited less frequently toward unfamiliar dogs than toward familiar ones."

Hence, dogs help friends most.

The findings are published in the journal Scientific Reports. 

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