Toddlers are more likely to help a dog reach a treat than a toy, especially if it has shown interest in the nibble.
The findings come as a part of a study that looked at whether youngsters were likely to impulsively help a pet.
Researchers found that a group of children aged two to three were twice as likely to help a dog reach a treat or toy when the animal showed interest than if it did not.
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Lead scientist Dr Rachna Reddy, a postdoctoral fellow in evolutionary anthropology at Duke University in North Carolina, said: “These findings lend support to our hypothesis that children’s early-developing proclivities for goal-reading and pro-sociality extend beyond humans to other animals.”