Dogs prefer belly rubs over treats

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Dogs Prefer Belly Rubs Over Treats

By Sean Dowling, Buzz60

When it comes to dogs, do you think they prefer a nice belly rub or a delicious treat?

While the dog from the Beggin' Strips commercial is always thrilled about devouring his treat, chances are he actually would have preferred a nice pat on the head, according to new research.

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Scientists at Emory University wanted to see if dogs value human companionship more than food. This led them to conduct brain scans of 15 dogs while presenting objects paired with rewards.

For example, after the dogs were shown a toy car, their owners would praise them.

Take a peek at these adorable puppies:

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Cute Puppies

Golden Retriever puppies 

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Puppies on Park Bench

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Seven week old Siberian Husky puppy sleeping.

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Close up of a cute golden retriever puppy

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Wheaten Terrier Puppies Playing 

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I wanna play ... this 8-week-young Beagle puppy said with a waggy tail.

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Four puppies in a row

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A happy and energetic Pembroke Welsh Corgi puppy runs on vibrant green grass.

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English Bulldog puppy 

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Boxer dog balancing treat on its nose.

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Two dogs (Siberian Husky and Pomeranian) cuddling.

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Howling Eurasier puppy

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The image is of a Boston Terrier puppy and a toddler boy approximately 2-5 years of age with blonde hair. The puppy and the boy are staring at each other. 

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Cute Puggle Looking at Camera.

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Spaniel puppies in a basket.

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Beagle puppy lying in a tiny suitcase

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Beagle with ears spread wide 

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Dalmatian puppy standing in a field 

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Cute dachshund puppy 

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American Staffordshire puppy

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Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppy naps on her blanket.

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White Chihuahua puppy wearing heart shaped sunglasses.

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Chocolate Lab puppy looking out of a basket.

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Puppy taking a break (it is tough to be such a young model!)

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Red puppy with wrinkles, blue eyes, Shar Pei & pit bull type

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Sleeping Chihuahua puppy

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Basset Hound puppy with visor

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Mongrel Dog With a Toy Bone 

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Tiny boston terrier puppy chewing on toys

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A Beagle puppy of 12 weeks running on yellow sand with only 2 feet on the ground

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puppy, red and white, pitbull, amstaff, american staffordshire terrier, cute, inquisitive, poker face

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Boxer puppy with doghouse

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Basset Hound puppy

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Yorkshire Terrier puppy sits by owners feet, on green lawn.

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A young black labrador retriever puppy carries a freshly picked carrot in his mouth.

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German shepherd puppy running through field

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American Staffordshire terrier puppy yawns sitting on wooden boards

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Golden Retreiver puppy girl running in the front yard through the spring green grass on location for adventure playtime and imagination with sunlight and green trees in the background

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Close-up Of Puppy

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A serious black puppy (Pit Bull mix) stares intently at the camera while light from the sun shines behind him.

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Cute puppy with a green bandage

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Ten week old female Golden retriever puppy lying on grass.

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Black and white pit bull puppy.

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Puggle puppy looking at the camera with adorable eyes.

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Shih Tzu puppy running on the sand.

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Akita sleeping on the floor

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French bulldog puppy sleeping with teddy bear

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Spoiled Yorkiepoo Puppy Sitting in Bed of Toys

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Howling eurasier puppy

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Italia, Piedmont, Tortona, Portrait of puppy looking at camera

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Lazy Dog

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In another test, researchers gave the dogs a toy horse and a piece of hot dog on a feeding stick without any human interaction.

The scans showed that when praised, 13 of the 15 dogs showed equal or greater levels of brain activity associated with the area that controls decision-making and signals rewards than when they received food.

Another test had the dogs run through a Y-shaped maze. Their owner would stand on one end -- and the other end would have a big bowl of food.

Most dogs weren't tempted by the food and instead preferred to run to their owner for a belly rub.

Researchers suggest organizations use brain scans to see if a dog is a better fit for a certain job.

Therapy dogs do best with human interaction, while search and rescue dogs can do without the treats and find enough motivation in the treats that come after a job well done.

Now, feed a dog a treat while having his belly rubbed and you've got a pooch in paradise.

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