Study Shows: Toddlers Want To Help Doggos Instinctively and Impulsively

Isn't it amazing how even the littlest of humans can show such compassion and understanding towards animals? A recent study published on January 15th in the journal Human-Animals Interactions confirms just that - toddlers are capable of extending their empathy to our furry friends.

A new peer-reviewed study has found that toddlers not only understand dogs needs but also willingly fulfill them, even when the likelihood of the pups repaying the favor is small. It's amazing to see how young children can have such a big heart and show such kindness towards animals.

The research found that even though they had never encountered the animals before, toddlers as young as two years old made an effort to help dogs obtain toys and treats that were placed out of their reach. It's truly heartwarming to see how natural compassion and empathy can be for young children.

Dr. Rachna Reddy, an evolutionary anthropologist and first author of the study stated “It’s really special to see how early this begins. From early in our development we have tendencies to behave prosocially towards other people, to try to understand what’s going on in their minds.”

A team of researchers observed 97 toddlers (51 girls and 46 boys) between the ages of two and three as they interacted with three friendly dogs named Fiona, Henry, and Seymour in a variety of settings. They observed how the toddlers assisted the dogs in getting a treat or toy and it's truly heartwarming to see these young humans and animals connect in such a meaningful way.

The research found that in 50% of cases, the toddlers were quick to offer the dogs a treat or toy after the dogs had tried and failed to get it themselves. Even more impressive, when the dogs had previously ignored an object and didn’t try to get it, the children still offered those items 26% of the time. Additionally, the researchers discovered that if a dog showed an interest in the kids, the kids were twice as likely to assist the dog in getting a toy or treat.

Researchers are working hard to understand why kids want to help dogs, how their motivations and thoughts about animals change as they grow up, and how different cultures influence these feelings. The studies are expected to continue and we can't wait to see all the new discoveries they will make!

We'd love to know your thoughts. Let us know in the comments below.

Original story / article courtesy of Dogs Best Life

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