Lassie’s Behavioral Atypical: Timmy Would Still be in the Well

Lassie’s Behavioral Atypical: Timmy Would Still be in the Well

One of the problems in this study is the way the dog walkers feigned their heart attack. They had been walking calmly with their dogs when they apparently had their heart attacks. The dogs in the control group and those used in the sample were familiar with the routes used. They probably did not sense any danger when they saw their walkers pretend to have a heart attack. The sample size used was also too small. Dogs have the ability to sense danger whether they are trained or not. The same way a dog can distinguish when its owner wants them to play is the same way it knows that the presence of danger. The dogs were only filmed for six minutes. This was a relatively short time to get a reaction from the dog. It was possibly not sure whether its owner wanted to play or was merely sleeping since he or she was motionless. Some dogs are usually not friendly with strangers and that is possibly the reason why they did not approach the bystanders. There are various factors to consider when laying out such an experiment.

The time a dog spends with its owner and the relationship it has matters a lot in such situations. If the dog is new or relatively new, it means that it is not familiar with its owner’s habits. It will therefore be hesitant to react to different situations. This is unlike an old dog who knows its owners way. The dog may not be trained but it may be aware of its owner’s mannerisms. It will therefore know when something is wrong. People’s relationship with their dogs also matter. A person who ill-treats his dog or one who does not show the dog much concern is also likely to receive the same treatment from the dog. Infact, the dog will look for every opportunity it can get to get away from such a person. If the owner does not spend time with his or her dog either playing, feeding or walking him, the dog will find ways of amusing itself, much like what happened with the dogs in the control experiment.

Other factors that should have been considered are the age of the dogs and the types of breeds. Young puppies have definitely not been exposed to any danger at all. The experiment does not detail the age of the dogs used either in the sample or in the control group. This important factor was overlooked. The type of breed also matters. With over one hundred dog breeds, the sample size used of thirty dogs was too small. Dogs have different levels of intelligence and temperament. They are also gifted in diverse areas and they relate differently with people. Some dogs are extremely intelligent and they can tell what is happening. Others are very protective of their owners. They may pose a challenge since they may not want to live their side incase something wrong happens to their owners. Dogs do sense real danger when they see one. Dogs, which have stayed with human beings for a long time, know how to relate well with them. Though the dog may not know the victim, it is highly unlikely that it will hurt him. The dogs in the control group showed this, though they did not know the ‘victims’, they did not hurt them. They did other friendly things with the victim such as nuzzle and lick them.

Bearing the above points in mind, the dogs reactions towards the ‘victims’ and the bystanders were not enough to conclude that the dogs did not understand the ‘emergency’. They certainly did not sense any emergency and that is why they were not quick to seek help. The sample size used was too small and yet there are so many dog breeds around. The types of breeds used in this experiment are not revealed and it is not easy to determine why they reacted as they did. The relationship between the owner and the dog is also not disclosed yet this is another important factor. The bystanders are also worth noting. Some dogs will not allow anyone to come near their property and in this case, they were protecting the ‘victims’. The dogs’ age is also something worth considering. The sample size could have been enlarged to reflect all this factors.

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