Do Dogs Forgive Not Only People – But Also Their Fellows?

The experience of many dog ​​owners shows that dogs can forgive their owners. But what about other dogs – are four-legged friends so good-natured? This research has been scientifically studied.

Dogs seem to love their people unconditionally. Are you at work all day and coming home late? Your dog still greets you with a happy wag of its tail. Accidentally stepped on the paw of a four-legged friend? After hugs and love, everything is all right again.

Are dogs really so forgiving of their kind? Researchers at Butler University recently wanted to find out: For their study, they examined a total of 177 dogs in a dog park to see if the dogs were reconciled and in what form.

To this end, scientists have put forward three different hypotheses. The first assumed that lower rank dogs would behave respectfully and submissively towards higher rank dogs after an argument. They called this hypothesis Reconciled Hierarchy.

In the second hypothesis, the researchers suggested that dogs regain their “good relationship.” After all, as part of the pack, they depend on each other.

Finally, the hypothesis of “reduced uncertainty” describes dogs that resolve conflict in order to avoid stress and uncertainty in the future.

Research Shows: Dogs Quickly Forgive Each Other and Reconcile Again

Scientists have been observing the dogs for eight months. They found that most dogs reconcile immediately after an argument – both the dog that attacked and the dog that was attacked. After the fight, the dogs were much more cooperative. And they worked more with each other than with innocent dogs.

The researchers ruled out the first two theories because the dogs that came into conflict often did not know each other beforehand. Hence, they did not need to re-establish good relations or hierarchy through reconciliation. Instead, brawlers spent more time together after an argument than before. Therefore, scientists suspect that dogs want to avoid future disputes through reconciliation and reduce stress levels.

However, research is only the first step, explains veterinarian Dr. Karen Becker on her Healthy Pets blog. Besides dog parks, there are many other situations in which dogs can collide and reconcile. For example, it’s interesting to know why dogs who already know each other forgive each other.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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