Is that bowl half-empty or half-full?
A University of Bristol study published in Current Biology demonstrates that dogs can be pessimists, too. In an elaborately staged experiment, dogs were ascribed optimist or pessimist labels based on their degree of enthusiasm in ferreting out the correct bowl containing food based on ambiguous stimuli. There, I said it: stimuli.
And of course I have never read Current Biology, silly. The definition of optimism is, I guess, the display of positive behaviors when none are warranted: like smiling in the unemployment line. In that context, pessimism seems to make sense when you think about it.
But I’m sorry, if you get me in a room with two bowls, one filled with yummy canned food, the other empty, I’m like a 2 year-old whippet on steroids, so I guess that makes me an optimist. But you knew that. Just look at yesterday’s column.
The study found pessimistic dogs were more like to exhibit separation anxiety while the optimists presumably remained confident that their hosts would return eventually and feed them. (Hello! If that weren’t the case you’d be dead pessimists.)
Anyway, what does it all mean? How do you know if your puppy will grow up to be a pessimist? And hey, if I’m a rescue dog stuck in a kennel with my survival timer set to two weeks, when people come walking past my door, do you think I’m going to mope around? Hell, no, I’m like practically dancing a jig, I am like, “look over here, hello, hello, I’m your new best friend...you want something from the fridge, no problem, kids want to ride me like a horsey, well horsey it is yabba yabba yabba just get me outa here…”
Hgurl, Accredited Online Advice Columnist and Canine Research Reporter