We’ve all heard stories about canine loyalty and uncommon rescues, but only recently have these traits undergone scientific scrutiny.
A recent study examined the rescue instincts of 60 canine companions. In each experiment, the dog’s owner was shut in a box, which closed with a door that the dog could move aside. Once inside, the owner cried “Help me!” to signal distress without calling the dog’s name.
About 30% of the dogs rescued their owners. In a separate test when food was dropped into the empty box, the same percentage of dogs were able to open the box and retrieve the food. Researchers deduced that the only real barrier in either case was the dog’s ability to learn how to open the door.
The take-home message is that dogs are hard-wired to rescue their people, and they’ll do it if they can figure out how.