Date of Award
Honors Bachelor of Arts
Dr. Moore, Dr. Bernal
Research on the ability of dogs (Canis familiaris) to recognize human attentional states has shown that dogs are inconsistent in successfully begging to humans who can see them. The current study expanded on this research in relation to the ongoing pandemic and analyzed whether dogs preferred begging to masked, unmasked, or blindfolded individuals. We recruited dog owners from a small liberal arts college and the surrounding area. Dogs chose to beg for a treat from a researcher in one of three separate testing conditions: no facial occlusion versus blindfolded, masked versus blindfolded, or no facial occlusion versus masked. The study found that dogs would nonsignificantly beg to individuals without a blindfold and showed no preference to individuals with either no facial occlusion or a mask. Training was not correlated with canine ability in recognizing human attention states, and attachment was not correlated with completion of the study. However, there was a significant positive correlation between attachment and success across trials. Future research will focus on increasing the power of the study and analyzing the ability of shelter dogs to recognize human attention.
George, Natalie, "The Influence of Human Facial Obstruction on Canine (Canis familiaris) Begging Preferences" (2022). Honors Program Theses. 193.