As we arrived home the other day, my dog greeted me, and my roommate’s cats ignored her completely. I realized something, there’s just nothing in the world like a dog. All animals are amazing and deserve love, but dogs love you unconditionally and greet you like you have been gone forever, even when you just went to get the mail. New research shows that dogs are good judges of character.
YOU WERE RIGHT
Many of us who observe our dog’s behavior, have theorized about this over the years.
It sure seems like dogs can tell when someone is a jerk or not.
According to the study, published in the journal Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews — we were right.
Dogs are likely to sense which person is a jerk and which person is nice.
But that’s not all:
JUDGE OF CHARACTER
The study also showed that once a dog thinks someone is a bad person, they treat them accordingly.
According to the study: “Dogs are known to consistently follow human pointing gestures. In this study, we asked whether dogs ‘automatically’ do this or whether they flexibly adjust their behavior depending upon the reliability of the pointer, demonstrated in an immediately preceding event.”
In other words, how would a dog respond to a human’s hand gestures after they act like a jerk?
So, here’s the scenario that the researchers used in the study:
They used dogs, the dog’s owners, and random strangers to conduct the test.
For each animal, there were three different volunteers.
The dog’s owner needs help opening a jar, so:
- The first volunteer that passes by offers to help
- The second volunteer walks by passively and doesn’t say a thing
- The third volunteer refuses to help outright
Then, at the end of the experiment, those three volunteers tried to give the dogs a treat.
Overwhelmingly, the dogs willingly accepted treats from the volunteers who helped out as well as those who remained passive.
On the other hand, the dog’s refused to approach the volunteers that refused to help their owner with the jar.
According to the study: “These results suggest that not only dogs are highly skilled at understanding human pointing gestures, but also they make inferences about the reliability of a human who presents cues and consequently modify their behavior flexibly depending on the inference.”
In other words, if you want your dog to trust you, watch how you treat other people — because they definitely are.
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