Recently, The Dodo published an article about a pair of littermates who “love” a pair of ducklings.
(Ah, the Dodo. Remember when they used to be cool?)
The first video is supposed to show one of the dogs being “protective” of the ducklings:
Is that happening? Nope. The dog is staying very still, ears back, brows furrowed, sometimes looking away. These aren’t behaviors we’d expect to see in resource guarding; they’re more like avoidance behaviors. The dog looks like he’s been put in a down-stay and instructed to leave the ducklings alone. He’s not doing anything that would suggest guarding - he’s not really doing much of anything at all.
The second video is supposed to be “playing”:
What about this video looks like play? None. The dog is just lying there, on his side, motionless. Even when the ducks are pulling at his ear, this dog might as well be comatose. If the dog were playing, we’d expect to see play bows, sniffing, nudging - we’d expect to see something, at least! This behavior looks like two cues - “settle” and “leave it”.
Clearly, these dogs are very well-trained. It’s not easy to resist something so deliciously bite-sized. And, they might be having a good time practicing impulse control - hopefully there’s a reward in it for them when the filming is over. But these videos are not evidence of a warm and fuzzy bond with their new adopted family members.
Original posts: Life of Pikelet Facebook page