Before you accuse us of being completely heartless, we admit that "wildly wrong" may be a stretch for this particular animal stereotype. We've seen the videos of dogs refusing to leave their owner's final resting places, greeting their owners as they return from war and even running into traffic to pull a canine companion to safety. It's possible that some of these videos even made us cry a little. But are all dogs equally deserving of the man's best friend moniker?
In his book "The Truth About Dogs", author Stephen Budiansky suggests, mostly tongue in cheek, that dogs have us hoodwinked, feigning loyalty and devotion in return for prime real estate in front of a cozy fireplace, space in our beds, food from our plates and license to get away with pretty much any quirky or disruptive behavior they can come up with.
In 2013, a group of Hungarian researchers found that dogs responded to robots in the same manner that they responded toward people. In fact, given the choice between a robot that spoke the dog's name in a programmed voice, extended a gloved hand for the dog to sniff and directed the dogs toward hidden food, or a human that offered none of those rewards, the dogs indicated a preference for the robot, spending more time at the robot's side and gazing at the robot's head [source: Lakatos et al.].