Here’s a fresh take for those of us who can’t get enough of the Olympics Games. Gizmodo sought out experts to ask whether or not animals know they’re winning or losing during fights. In other words, are animals competitive?
The experts who talked to Gizmodo weighed in.
While most dogs do have some natural sense of competition, according to Clive Wynne, professor and area head of behavior neuroscience at Arizona State University, they may not have the smarts to grasp what they’re doing. Put canines in a game like the Puppy Bowl and they don’t actually have a clue what’s going on.
All they have is that little bit of intrinsic competition,” Wynne says.
Equine expert Jennifer Nadeau at the University of Connecticut’s Animal Science department says she doesn’t think horses realize when they win but are good at reading body language.
[A]s a prey animal really do try to please people. They do realize, upon winning, that the person or people they are performing for are very happy, and they then feel happy as well. With horses, kind words or other acts of kindness, as well as a release of pressure (think releasing the rein after asking them to stop) are all rewards that make them feel calm and relaxed or happy.