Do Dogs Prefer Winners?

Posted: Mar 05 2009

Originally published February 21st, 2007

According to this Discovery Channel report, Dogs Prefer Winners. The journal Animal Behavior recently performed a study where dogs were allowed to watch games of tug. The matches were both between humans and between animals. The dogs were then allowed to interact with the participants after the matches were complete. According to the study, the dogs rushed to interact with the “victors” of these contests more than the “losers”.

As a former user interaction testing guru (if I can say so myself) I find the results interesting, but I wonder how skewed the testing environment was. Of course, the “victor” would probably appear more animated, and therefore interesting to the animal. Of course, I can’t say (I wasn’t there), but the study in itself is interesting. The dogs may not really know who “won” but might be just drawn to the more animated participant.

However, the question remains, do dogs prefer winners? I do think that dogs can be competitive, and our dog Scout certainly likes to “win” battles of tug and can be playfully competitive at times with his sister, Daisy. If dogs actually prefers to interact with other winners, who can say? If only we could speak dog!


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