Has it ever struck you as odd, that we dogs just love to eat human food, but our humans don’t in general seem to fancy the stuff they give us?
Well I am pleased to report that this puzzling phenomenon has finally been taken seriously by some (human) scientists, who published their findings last week.
This study* investigated whether humans could spot ‘real’ dog food in amongst samples of spam, liverwurst, pâté, and duck liver mousse. An excellent use of precious research funding, would you not say?
Well, I read the paper, with a bit of help from Gail – I mean how many dogs know what “Measuring the hedonic tone free of bias requires a double-blind trial” or “A Chi-Squared test did not support the hypothesis that the distribution of guesses was significantly different from random (X2=0.433, P=0.9797)” is supposed to mean?
The long and the short of it is, the human tasters could not distinguish reliably between the so-called human foods and the dog food. Nearly half the tasters thought the liverwurst was for dogs, a finding which the Liverwurst Marketing Association may want to suppress…..However, and rather confusingly, the humans did rate the actual dog food as tasting worse than the other meats on offer.
Would dogs have done any better, I hear you ask? Well I suspect that there would be no shortage of canine volunteers for this particular scientific trial!
Two crumbs of comfort may be drawn from the experiment.
First, it seems we dogs will not anytime soon have to start guarding our dinner plates from the attentions of our ‘owners’.
Second, I note that the trial was conducted between 7 and 10 pm on New Year’s Eve, so valuable working hours were not lost. Nowhere in the paper does it state the number of units of alcohol already consumed by the humans when conducting the experiment. I would have thought this point highly relevant and am surprised that the omission of these data was not noted during the peer review process.
*John Bohannon, Robin Goldstein and Alexis Herschkowitsch, Can People Distinguish Pâté from Dog Food?, American Association of Wine Economists, AAWE Working Paper No. 36, April 2009.