The debate is recurring! Many people are convinced that dogs can certainly know if a person is good or bad, while others claim that it is impossible. As Animo magazine was also curious about the issue, we searched «the internet» a bit to find a concrete answer, and we found it!
A behavioural study on the subject was reportedly conducted by an Akiko Takaoka from the University of Kyoto in Japan. Dogs would be smarter than we think and would be able to distinguish unreliable and bad people from good and trustworthy people.
The experiment conducted by Akiko Takaoka and his team is formal and aimed at knowing how a dog would behave in front of an untrustworthy person who lied to him. The research, which included 34 participating dogs and their owners, was divided into three parts.
The handler points to a full bowl of food. The dog goes to the bowl without hesitation. Another bowl, empty this time, is placed in the same place. The master makes the same gesture by pointing at the empty bowl of food. When arriving at the bowl, the dog hesitates and seems to feel trapped, because nothing is there.
The dogs have all interpreted the gesture of their master, which suggests that they understand human gestures. However, if these are not based on something safe, then the dog may become anxious and nervous.
In the third part, the dogs no longer followed the manual instructions of the masters. In fact, when they pointed to the bowl, no animal followed the pointing hand.
The study, published in the Animal Cognition Journal, concluded that dogs use their previous experiences to interpret situations and decide whether a person is trustworthy or not.
While the study provides an incredible insight into the behaviour of dogs, it is not the first to do so, and several previous studies have come to somewhat similar conclusions.
It has been proven that dogs are extremely intelligent. They can not only read our facial expressions and gestures, but also decipher them to decide if they want to follow our social cues.
A study published in the journal Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews revealed how dogs could clearly interpret interactions between their owners and strangers. The participating dogs behaved well with the “good” foreigners and avoided those who had acted harshly towards their owner.
In another interesting experiment, dog owners sought help from strangers who later attempted to give a treat to their companion. And the results surprised everyone! None of the participating dogs accepted the treat from those who had mistreated their master.
The dogs even accepted treats from strangers who did not answer the begging of their owner, but the aggressive and rude people could not gain their trust.
Sources: WorldTruth.TV – BrightSide