The next time you’re in the midst of a dog walk, or your cat is wandering aimlessly in your yard, remember this: This is a dog family affair.
In fact, it’s probably more common than you might think, according to a new study published in the journal Science.
The study, conducted by the University of Texas at Austin and conducted by researchers from the University College London, surveyed more than 7,500 pet owners across the United Kingdom, and found that while many dogs are very well-behaved, most are also very lonely and fearful of strangers.
“We found that dogs, unlike cats, are not shy or timid,” said lead author Dr. Robert Clements.
“The dogs we interviewed had an average of 5.5 years of age and were typically of mixed breeds, such as Great Danes and Rottweilers.”
While it’s important to keep in mind that the average dog’s lifespan is shorter than that of a human, the study’s findings may offer some hope for people looking for a companion.
“People who were able to show that they were able [to] bond with their dogs, and that they could be good companions, are more likely to choose them for a long-term relationship,” Clements said.
According to the study, pet owners who showed greater attachment and trustworthiness tended to choose their own dogs over those who showed more self-centeredness.
In other words, people who showed less self-control tended to opt for dogs that were more likely in the majority of cases to become lonely, and more likely even to act aggressively toward other people.
“While these findings indicate that people may be attracted to dogs that are socially and socially confident, they also suggest that people with more social problems may be at a greater risk for being rejected and lonely, as well as exhibiting poor social skills,” the study concluded.
This isn’t the first study to look at dog-cat relationships.
In 2014, researchers from Oxford University conducted an experiment that found that cats were more compatible with dogs than other felines.