Pets prefer food over toys—why?

The first study to allow dogs to choose their favorite meal and toy and then pit them against each other in a training trial found that nine out of 10 selected food over toys.   

Recent publication in Animals is “Efficacy of Edible and Leisure Reinforcers with Domestic Dogs.  

Food reinforces dog behavior better than toys and other stuff. The team wrote that utilizing food as a reinforcer may improve dog training performance.   

Researcher gathered 10 local pet dogs. Each person saw six food items (treats, cheese, carrots, hot dogs) and six toys (tennis ball, squeak toy, plastic bone, stuffed animal).   

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Then, each dog picked its favorite food and toy. Another set of trials required the dogs to perform harder for their prize.  

When handed a toy instead of their favorite treat, most dogs gave up sooner.  

who led the study with her students and colleagues from Florida Tech and Johns Hopkins.   

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