Do Dogs Understand the Concept of “Less is More”?

dogs eating veggies blog 2Those of us with ravenous, perpetually hungry dogs might find it hard to believe that dogs could understand the concept of "less is more" as it pertains to food, but new research is showing just that.

Researchers at the University of Kentucky wanted to see if hungry dogs chose the option that led to more food rather than less food. They used baby carrots and string cheese to test the "less is more" effect.

As it turns out, when the dogs were given a choice between eating either one slice of cheese or eating the cheese and a piece of carrot, the majority of the dogs chose to only eat the cheese. This is considered to be a mental shortcut that has previously been found in humans and other primates. The "less is more" preference shows that the animal chooses the quality of the food over the quantity of it.  Interestingly, the one dog who ate both the carrot and the cheese in the study was previously a homeless dog fending for itself on the streets.

So why is it that the "less is more" effect occurs? The researchers attest it to theory that choosing quality over quantity may be beneficial when an individual is faced with the need to make a  rapid decision, especially for socially organized species. Animals that feed in groups must make quick decisions about the quantity and quality of the food they are able to eat.

It appears that the dogs tested in this study chose to average the quality of the cheese and the carrot together, rather than sum up the quantity of the total food available to them. This research is the first to show that this characteristic is not limited to humans and other primates, and may exist elsewhere in the mammalian world.

Read more. 


tweet it post it Share It Plus It Print It
JOIN THE CONVERSATION
read
  • Dogs May Be Used to Make Schools...
  • Puppy Comforts Whimpering Senior...
  • VSPDTs Offer Loose Leash Walking...
  • Our Pets Deserve Better

Episode 323

Victoria and Holly reconnect for a special holiday-themed episode of the Positively Podcast to recap the year in dogs, share the...

Episode 322

Holly stumps Victoria with an Animal Academy after Victoria recaps her skiing trip. Dr. Duffy Jones of Peachtree Hills Animal...

Episode 321

Holly introduces Victoria to After the Rapture, Victoria talks ski vacations, & Dr. Marty Becker (America's Vet) calls in to...

find a vspdt trainer
Schedule a consultation via skype or phone