Dogs evolved specific abilities to form unique relationships with others. Their relationships with others are very important because it can help grow the bond between the two. Remi has a very good bond with his whole human family, especially his mom, as well as other dogs. In a recent study, researchers compared the relationships between dogs and humans and dogs and other dogs to try and prove their hypothesis.
Throughout their experiment, researchers used a bottom-up approach to analyze the behavior in both dog and human bonds. A total of 70 participants, 35 dog-dog and 29 dog-human dyads, were compared. Each were tested outdoors and included four episodes: exploration of an unfamiliar environment, separation from the partner, reunion with the partner and a novel object test (Cimarelli et al., 2019). They conducted a Principal Component Analysis (PCA) to reduce the number of variables from both the dog-human and dog-dog interactions. The results from their analysis revealed that dogs’ relationships are characterized by three components: reference 22.86%, affiliation 16.47%, and stress 13.70% (Cimarelli et al., 2019). They found that the type of relationship predicts how dogs react to a social threat. This suggests that dogs can form relationships with both humans and other dogs, and that these relationships vary along multiple components.
In Remi’s case, this study helps to show why he can form relationships with both humans and other dogs. Even though he has a strong natural relationship with his human family, he is still able to build relationships with other dogs. The results also help to show how he could use his relationships as a reaction to certain social threats i.e., with other dogs that may be in harm’s way.
Cimarelli, G., Marshall-Pescini, S., Range, F., & Virányi, Z. (2019). Pet dogs’ relationships vary rather individually than according to partner’s species. Scientific reports, 9(1), 3437. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-40164-x