The scientists worked with 36 dogs. They videotaped when the owners ignoring dogs in favor of a stuffed, animated dog.
The owners treated the objects as though they were real dogs. They petted them, talked to them, etc.
Later researchers analysed the dogs’ behavior. They checked their aggression, attention seeking, and/or interest in the owner or object.
Dogs were about twice as likely to push or touch, the owner when the owner was interacting with the faux dog (78 %).
About 30 % of the dogs also tried to get between their owner and the stuffed animal.