Vie de chien

GAINESVILLE, FLORIDA – Il y a environ 70 millions de chiens domiciliés chez les humains aux Etats-Unis, et ils sont 10 millions de plus que les enfants de moins de 15 ans. La proportion est identique à celle que l’on trouve dans les autres pays occidentaux. 40% de ces chiens familiers sont autorisés à dormir dans le lit de leur maître.

Comment les chiens en sont-ils venus à prendre une place aussi intime dans nos vies? Une théorie veut qu’au cours des milliers d’années qu’ils ont passées à côtoyer les hommes, les chiens se seraient mis au diapason de leurs façons de penser. Il est vrai qu’ils sont extraordinairement réceptifs au comportement humain.

Les chiens sont capables de trouver de la nourriture cachée, grâce aux gestes des hommes, et de leur indiquer par leurs mouvements où se cache un jouet. Dans certaines circonstances, les chiens comprennent qu’une personne qui ne peut pas les voir (parce que, par exemple, elle a les yeux bandés) sera moins encline à répondre au quémandage d’une gourmandise, que quelqu’un dont les yeux ne sont pas couverts. Si leur maître reste sur place, les chiens sont également plus disposés à obéir à son ordre de ne pas prendre quelque chose qu’ils désirent, que s’il s’en va.

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