Would Your Dog Come to Your Rescue?

If you were lying in the street and only your dog was there to see it, would he care?

Provided by our friends at Pet Health Network. 

Hero dogs are the stuff of legends. We’d like to think our canine companions would rival Rin Tin Tin, Benji or Lassie when facing perilous predicaments. We imagine our dogs rescuing us from danger, crossing swollen rivers, dodging falling buildings, and leaping through fires to gently nuzzle us awake and drag us to safety. It’s hard not to when you watch movies or even read of real life hero dogs in the news, like the dog who saved his owner from a bear, or the dog who dialed 911 to save his owner’s life.

Now, some dog guardians are testing their pooch’s hero status, and videoing the results. 

Prepare to be underwhelmed.

The Setup

Before I go any further, I want to make it clear that I don’t recommend nor advise what these wanna-be-internet-famous folks are doing. In fact, I think it can be downright dangerous. Here’s the setup: A person is out walking their dog on a leash and pretends to collapse. Video rolls to share how the dog responds when the guardian fake falls to the ground, feigning fainting. (Say that five times fast.) So how’d the dogs do? Underdog to the rescue? 

The Results

Not so much. Most of the dogs simply ignored the guardian and continued trekking. One kept walking until you couldn’t see it, and another took the opportunity to hightail it elsewhere. Not a single dog poked, prodded, licked, sniffed or snuggled their guardian. Only one made any attempt to even glance back at their blacked-out buddy. Disappointed doesn’t do it justice. 

Dacshund in the grass 

Sometimes, Dogs Do Get Upset

As fate would have it, my wife inadvertently conducted a similar experiment last weekend. She was with her yoga class participating in a beach sunrise session. As the group entered shavasana (“corpse pose” or the final deep relaxation stage), a large Boxer-mix and guardian approached. As the class lay on the beach, face up, hands by their sides, not moving, my wife noticed the Boxer abruptly stop. It stared at the group and stared up at its human. The Boxer repeated this back-and-forth attempt to get its oblivious guardian’s attention several times. Finally, the Boxer began pulling toward the group as if to say, “Can’t you see there’s a bunch of dead people over there? Help them!” Needless to say, my wife broke pose and went over to hug her newfound hero friend. Too bad she wasn’t videoing it.

My Theory

My personal theory on why these dogs ignored their gaurdian’s counterfeit catastrophe is simple: They knew it was a sham. Dogs are highly intuitive and I suspect they didn’t perceive any real threat signals. I’m holding out hope that my mutts would know when the danger was real or phony and launch into “Sam” from “I am Legend” on a horde of zombies. I’ll post that video. 

A Note About Safety

If you’re going to test your pooch’s protector status, at least do it in a confined, safe environment. Most of these dogs fled the scene, potentially resulting in unintended tragedy. You should also prepare to be ignored. It seems you can’t fake out a real hero dog.

But remember, just because your dog doesn’t come to your aid, doesn’t mean he doesn’t have other strengths. We aren’t all fireman, police officers and doctors either.  

Do you think your dog would come to your rescue? Tell us about it!  


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