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Sony says lonely dogs can learn social skills from ‘Aibo’ robot dog

Sony has said dogs can learn social skills from its new Aibo robot dog.

A Sony mammalogist, Tadaki Imaizumi, conducted an experiment in which 13 dogs were introduced to the robot. Imaizumi said the dogs recognised the robot as a “living creature” and showed a sense of friendship and concern to them.

Nine dogs were said to have approached the robot and attempted to sniff its scent during the first stage of the experiment, while six sniffed its rear in an attempt to make communication. Some dogs were too scared to approach the Aibo, observing from a distance and refusing to get closer.

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As the experiment continued, Aibos were introduced to the homes of the dogs, where dogs were reported to have learned the robot’s name, performed tricks in unison with it and licking the robot when they were told Aibo was leaving indicating they wanted it to stay.

Having a companion can provide lonely dogs with psychological stability according to Imaizumi. He said: “I glimpsed that living with Aibo may help dogs to develop something similar to compassion, and help them grow.”

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