Behaviour Bytes - Human Attention & Canine Play
Researchers recently examined whether a human audience influenced play between dogs.
The study was done with pairs of dogs that were already familiar with each other, and three different levels of owner attention were experimented with:
Owners being present and attentive
Owners being present and inattentive
Owners being absent.
The amount of social play that was observed was significantly higher when an attentive owner was present, in comparison with the other conditions.
While these findings may not come as a surprise to dog savvy people, there hasn't actually been much in the way of prior research done on this subject, so the study does provide an opening for more investigation relating to the effects of interspecific attention on social play.