How Your Dog Reacts to Your Attire

by Pets

Believe it or not, your clothes can affect how your dog behaves.

According to research published in Anthrozoos by Arnold Chamove of the Department of Psychology at Massey University in New Zealand, animals are influenced by the clothes we wear. In particular, bright colors can signal aposematism, which stimulates the defense mechanism of predators. Certain patterns and colors are similar to aposematism, making animals think of predators, especially venomous animals, and avoid them. This is considered to be an evolutionary response to improve self-defense mechanisms.

Your dog's behavior may change depending on what you're wearing.
“Apozematism”, which means having bright colors, activates the defense mechanism, especially in predators.

This behavior can be developed as a defense mechanism and lead animals to avoid certain colors or patterns after a predator’s unpleasant experience. However, some experts argue that non-aggression is instinctive and varies depending on the type of predator encountered.

The most well-known aposematic feature is the striped skin pattern, which is seen in the venomous coral snake. Caterpillars and skunks also exhibit striped skin patterns. For instance, the lines on a caterpillar’s skin indicate highly alkaline chemicals that can cause nausea. Similarly, the lines on a skunk warn predators of its foul odor.

Arnold Chamove, the researcher behind the study, was curious about whether dogs perceive striped clothing the same way. Twenty-two dogs were subjected to an experiment in which they were placed in a confined space and presented with different outfits worn by a human. The human initially wore a black outfit, followed by a shirt with horizontal and vertical 1 cm wide stripes, and finally a shirt with horizontal and vertical 4 cm wide stripes. The dogs’ behavior was recorded each time.

Your dog's behavior may change depending on what you're wearing.
The lines on the caterpillar’s skin indicate a taste with highly alkaline chemicals that can cause nausea.

The study found that dogs are sensitive to the pattern of clothing worn by unfamiliar humans. Accordingly, dogs showed more active behavior when presented with shirts that had more frequent stripes and less active behavior when presented with unstriped shirts. Horizontal stripes had a greater impact, while vertical stripes had a lesser impact.

Chamove conducted the same experiment with a different group of dogs to confirm the results. In this experiment, ten dogs from a shelter and fifteen dogs from a feeding unit were used, and a female human was presented with different outfits. The study yielded similar results to the previous one.

In conclusion, dogs demonstrate behavioral changes in response to the patterns of clothing worn by unfamiliar humans.

Psychology Today

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