Wednesday 23 June 2021

One worried owner

So Gail asked me something quite unexpected when we were out walking by the river yesterday.

"Bertie, tell me truthfully, you do like me don't you?"

This question came as a surprise as heretofore I had never thought of my owner as the sort of needy person who constantly seeks reassurance in this manner.

So I stopped and gave her a friendly smile before asserting my customary independence.

It was only after we arrived home and I noticed this headline in Gail's 'New Scientist' magazine that I worked out the source of her concern.

So it seems some researchers in South America have found that dog owners tend to over-estimate the strength of the bond they have with their pets.

I must say, I think I would have enjoyed taking part in this particular scientific study, as it apparently involved fitting free-roaming pet dogs with GPS collars and tracking their journeys on Navarino Island in Southern Chile for three weeks. At the end of the roaming period each dog's relationship with its owner was assessed using an 'attachment test' adapted from parent-child bonding research in humans. The dogs who roamed furthest tended to rate low on the attachment test, despite their owners having previously considered the bond with the dog to be strong.

Now I think we can all see some potential flaws in the methodology of this study, and perhaps doubt its applicability to fox terriers living in urban Scotland. And the lack of any mention of the use of treats to reinforce the bonding process is, I think, a serious omission.

Nonetheless, I would be quite happy to do my bit for science and volunteer to join the next phase of the research on Navarino Island - the more so as I read that one of the dogs in the original study travelled 28 kilometers from base and several of them brought home carcasses of native birds and muskrats. 

It all sounds tremendously good fun, don't you think?


  1. we better don't show our dad that news... oh well.... we do hahahahaha

  2. Sounds like a flawed study, roaming and playing with things with a pulse are fun. But sleeping outside without a comfy bed, and fairly regular treats, is not for us…..just sayin’.

  3. Well Bertie, it seems a waste of time to me. Why should I want to go all that way just to prove that I don't like my human as much as she thinks I do? Think of all those nasty extra shots we'd have to take before we even got on an aeroplane - and that's a frightening thought too! I'm with Bella Roxy and Macdui here.

    Inca xx
    P.S. from Inca's human - Inca follows me absolutely everywhere - she really is my little shadow - but I'm not sure if it's because she loves me, or is afraid of missing out any food!

  4. Hari OM
    Crikey Bertie lad - is there someting of the wolf in you after all??? I suspect you would give a go for a day - and then be searching like a wild thing to get back to Gail!!! Hugs and wags, YAM-aunty xxx

  5. We like sticking close to home because we know that's where the comfy bed and the food supply is. It wouldn't be any fun to have to find our own meals.

  6. BOL BOL BOL Bertie...thank goodness you gave Gail your most adoring WFT head tilt and smile to reassure her of your devotion. Roaming at will only means you are independent and you know Gail will stay close(not roam) on your WFT tush. Awww, 2nd thought, I'm reminded of the Senior Care kitchen that your keen nose lead you too once!!
    Hugs Cecilia

  7. This is really very interesting but all I have to say is that study is wrong wrong wrong! We all know how attached you are to Gail and I certainly know how attached b e a u is to me and me to b e a u

  8. We know that you adore Gail and wouldn't stray far, Bertie - now me on the other hand......

  9. Mom says Misty is proof of how much we love our owners. The day she met her in the parking lot of the animal shelter, Misty actually knocked Mom on her bottom when she saw her and smothered her with kisses. And we know you absolutely adore Gail. AND the reverse is true as well.

    woos - Lightning, Misty, and Timber

  10. Why is it humans are always analyzing?? We are pretty sure our humans love us and we love long as the cookies keep coming anyway BOL!!

    Rosy and the Gang

  11. Our love is pure and unrelenting. Sometimes we love the so much they can't believe it.

  12. Being rescue dogs that have had more than one home, we love who we are with, especially if there are lots of treat and a safe place to sleep and lots of love. We think we have it here!

    Rosie and Redford