Dogs have a sense of fairness

Lily is a three-year-old female border collie/Lab mix who would love a home with no cats but she does love other dogs.

Lily is a three-year-old female border collie/Lab mix who would love a home with no cats but she does love other dogs.

I had never thought about whether dogs perceived fairness until the other day at the dog park. It was amazing to watch the pups line up to get a treat. They all waited their turn sort-of patiently. But when one got an extra treat the others seemed to pout just like kids.

Recently researchers in Austria tested nine wolves and ten dogs to study their similarities.

They used classic conditioning techniques to teach the animals to press a lever to get a treat.The results were predictable with both the wolves and dogs pressing the lever to get treats.

In the next part of the study they put the animals in separate cages where they could see each other and prompted them to press the lever. The difference this time was the quality of the treat; some got meat, others received kibble and some got nothing. The animals who receive a lesser treat or nothing quit pressing the lever and actually snubbed the others who got the better treats. Wolves immediately quit as soon as they realized they received an inferior treat. Dogs persisted longer but eventually quit. If the wolf or dog were alpha males, they reacted more strongly and quickly to inequity. Interestingly, wolves who received lesser treats held grudges against the humans involved; dogs, on the other hand, didn’t. The results indicate that the sense of fairness is an innatequality in both wolves and dogs. So the next time you’re handing out treats, be fair and give everyone the same treat. Just like kids, your pup is monitoring your behavior and expects you to be fair.


Boss recently underwent surgery because he loved his blanket so much he ate it. He is the cutest guy who loves to play ball and is searching for a playmate. Boss is a three-year-old pit-bull/mix who looks like Petey from the Little Rascals. Please come out and play ball with this guy; he is adorable and will love you forever.

To celebrate Adopt-a-Shelter-Cat-Month, we will be adopting adult cats for the nominal fee of $40. Senior cats (seven-years old and over) will be greatly discounted too. The fee for kittens will be $100. All cats have been spayed/neutered and are up-to-date on shots. If you have been thinking of getting a feline friend, now is the time. We have many adorable cuddly cats. Come in and meet them.


Emergency funds for Boss’s surgery. Anything helps and, he is getting better!

Volunteers to walk dogs or play with cats. We have enthusiastic dogs and cats just waiting to meet you. Call 775-423-7500 for details.

Aluminum cans, which we recycle to augment our shelter funds. We are unable to pick up cans because of trailer problems, but please continue to save them.


CAPS board of directors: Rita Hand, Pauline Friedrich, Kim Lamb, Diane Peters, Sharon Peters, Ken Wylie and Janice Wood. We appreciate all the time you graciously volunteer. A Big Tail Wag to all of you!


CAPS will be at Walmart July on 15 with our Kissin’ Booth and a sweet smooching pooch. Come by to get your pooch smooch. We will also have caps, short-sleeved T-shirts, hoodies and sweatshirts, so please check them out after you have been smooched.


June Pet Holidays

Adopt-a-Shelter-Cat Month- (Be sure to check out our cat- adoption specials.)

Flower Tree Nursery will be raffling a 20-gallon tree of your choice on June 15, and the winner doesn’t have to be present to win. The raffle tickets are available at Flower Tree, and they are $1 for one ticket and $5 for six tickets.


CAPS’ mailing address is P.O. Box 5128, Fallon, NV 89406. CAPS’ phone number is 775-423-7500. CAPS’ email address is Please visit the CAPS website ( and Facebook page (Churchill Animal Protection Society). Be sure to “Like” CAPS on Facebook because we are really likable.

Do you have questions, comments or a great story? Contact me

Kathleen Williams-Miller, a CAPS volunteer, contributed this week’s column.


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