Do Dogs have a preference when eating from diff color bowls?

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Do Dogs have a preference when eating from diff color bowls?

Postby lumprincess » Wed Jan 25, 2012 11:44 am

My sons project is due by 2/3/12 and we are really having a hard time determining if we should use 1 dog or more than one dog for his experiment. He has 4 different colored dog bowls, all the same type (black, red, green, & white). He is putting the same snack in each bowl and seeing where the dog goes to the most. He is testing this dog 10 times and changing the bowls around each time. Should the purpose include are dogs color blind or should it just stay simple in what color does the dog prefer? Any help with this is greatly appreciated. Thanks

Millicent
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Project Question: do dogs prefer a certain color bowl when eating?
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Re: Do Dogs have a preference when eating from diff color bo

Postby LewisWhaley » Wed Jan 25, 2012 9:54 pm

Hello lumprincess.

I think your project would be much better suited if you used what you have the question about.
The project purpose would be much better suited to the following:

Your QUESTION: "Should the purpose include are dogs color blind or should it just stay simple in what color does the dog prefer?"
Ask an Expert ANSWER: "are dogs color blind?"

Please let us know if this helps in any way.

Good Luck! :D
Best Regards,

Lewis Whaley
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Re: Do Dogs have a preference when eating from diff color bo

Postby lumprincess » Thu Jan 26, 2012 5:52 am

Thank you so much for your response. We will follow your suggestion. Should we use more than one dog for this. He has already tested his German Sheperd. He also has a lab and begals. What do u suggest on this one?
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Re: Do Dogs have a preference when eating from diff color bo

Postby MelissaB » Thu Jan 26, 2012 7:48 am

Hi,

You should definitely test more than one dog if you can. Perhaps individual dogs have individual preferences!

I think all you can really say is is there a preference for a certain color. In order to test for color vision, the experiment that is normally done is to train an animal to get food from a certain color bowl (say, blue). Once they know to come to that bowl, you can present the dog with a variety of bowls with no treats in them and see whether or not they go to the blue bowl first. One thing that you would have to control for is smell, so you would have to buy all new bowls so that none of them smelled familiar/like treats!

Don't feel like you need to completely change your son's experiment--it is fine as-is. Just add your other dogs to the experiment and see if they all have a preference for the same bowl! I like that your son thought of doing multiple trials and moving the dishes around--location is a great variable to control for.

Hope that helps!
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Re: Do Dogs have a preference when eating from diff color bo

Postby lumprincess » Thu Jan 26, 2012 2:22 pm

Thanks for your response. He has already tested the German Sheperd and seen that she went to the black bowl 8 of 10 times. The other 2 times, she went to the white. My son has already read that dogs are red green color blind so he thinks that the dog didn't see the red and green bowls. My thoughts were leaning towards the idea of what color his dogs prefer also since we didn't use any more color bowls for the dogs to choose from. My son is very amazed at the results he has seen so far. I just was a little confused with the actual purpose we should be using and the amount of dogs to be tested. We really appreciate the help that has been given.



Thanks
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Re: Do Dogs have a preference when eating from diff color bo

Postby heatherL » Sat Jan 28, 2012 5:55 pm

Hi there,

This is a great experiment! I actually tested the question Are dogs color blind? for my science fair project in junior high, and it was a fun project! As Melissa said, you would need to change the experiment to answer the question about color blindness. However, the project your son has, which looks at color preference, is perfectly interesting and informative. It is interesting to show whether animals have preferences. (On a side note, paw preference is a common experiment, and this is a nicely designed project that tests a similar idea but in a different way.)

As the other experts have advised, it is best to use more than one dog. Some dogs may have no preference, and some may have different preferences from others.

I wanted to point out that if dogs are red/green color blind, it does not mean that they cannot see the red and green bowls. Instead, it means that they cannot tell the difference in color between the two. In other words, both bowls may look green to the dog; they will look the same. If you find that one of the dogs shows a preference to both the red bowl and the green bowl in similar amounts, it may be that the dog likes the single color he or she sees!

Good luck with the other trials, and pleast let us know how it turns out!

Best,
Heather
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Re: Do Dogs have a preference when eating from diff color bo

Postby lumprincess » Sun Jan 29, 2012 5:36 pm

Okay, Please HELP...... experiments are complete.
1st dog went to black -4, white - 4, red-2
2nd dog went to green-2, black-2, white-2, red-4
3rd dog went to green-5, white-3, black-1, and red-1

Therefore his hypothesis was wrong. He has written his conclusion and we would like your sugestions to what he has written.

Based on the data results from my experiment, I learned that my hypothesis was wrong but the my reasons behind my thoughts we somewhat true. The total results showed that my dogs went to the white bowl more than the other colors. It has been proven by scientists that dogs do not see the colors red and green as humans do. Green is seen as pale yellow or white, and red is seen as dark grey. I think that I should have used colors other than green and red because the dogs saw them as simular in color to the other bowls.

His hypothesis reads:
I believe that my dogs will go to the black bowl each time because I don't think that dogs can see colored objects very well.


Please tell us what you think of his thoughts here, thanks for everything....
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Re: Do Dogs have a preference when eating from diff color bo

Postby MelissaB » Mon Jan 30, 2012 8:55 am

Hi,

I think that what your son has written makes sense. I would also suggest that he discuss the effects of smell on his results. Finally, there was a lot of between-dog variation; perhaps he could discuss what he thinks he would have found had he been able to test something like 100 different dogs.

Great start, though!
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Re: Do Dogs have a preference when eating from diff color bo

Postby heatherL » Mon Jan 30, 2012 2:14 pm

Hi there,

Your son did have a great hypothesis, and there was a lot of variation between dogs. One thing to do is reassure your son that it is perfectly okay for his hypothesis to be unsupported by the data. In fact, some great advancements in science have occurred due to incorrect hypotheses!

I'm not sure it is appropriate to report the "total results." Did you add the total number of times a color was picked, regardless of which dog picked it? If so, then your son is reporting something called pseudo-replication. The term is not important; but the idea is that each data point is not totally independent, because several of the points were chosen by the same dog. So, your son reported that the "total results showed that my dogs went to the white bowl more than the other colors." If you just add, the totals for each color are: green=7, black=7, white=9, and red=7. While this makes it look as if all three dogs chose white more than the other colors, the pattern is different for each dog. In fact, two of the three dogs chose black and white in the same frequency (one of which chose red more than the other colors), and the third dog chose white once more than black, but favored green over all the others. Sorry for the long explanation here, but I think it would be more accurate for your son to report that Dog #1 preferred the black and white bowls equally, Dog #2 preferred red, and Dog #3 preferred green.

That said, the last three sentences of the conclusion are great, and show that your son is really thinking about his project! I agree with Melissa that it would be appropriate to mention something about smell, since dogs use their noses more than their eyes. (Dogs have a far better sense of smell than humans do.)

I hope this helps!

Heather
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