If you are a proud dog owner, then you should probably know that your most beloved furry friend has a special ability to recognize when a person has some hidden agendas.
They might not seem that aware and bright when they’re desperately chasing the end of their tails, but they are indeed clever animals.
It is already known that dogs are capable of understanding what it means when a person points somewhere. When the dog’s owner points somewhere, the dog will run and explore the designated area.
But, the extraordinary news are – they can also sense when a person is untrustworthy.
And luckily, we have science to back this up.
A recent study, published in the journal Animal Cognition showed that our lovely, furry friends have a good sense of judgment when it comes to people.
A team of researchers led by Akiko Takaoka of Kyoto University in Japan made an experiment on 34 dogs with 3 rounds of pointing.
In the first round, the experimenters were told to point to a container that had food underneath it, so naturally, the dogs followed the directions and found the food.
But, in the second round, the researchers pointed at an empty container. The dogs didn’t find anything, so in the third round, the same experimenter pointed to a container with food.
However, the dog didn’t respond by following the direction of the experimenter.
According to Dr. Takaoka, the dogs used their previous experience to find out whether the experimenter was a reliable source. They didn’t trust this person anymore, so they stopped following.
After all these rounds, they did another one, where a new experimenter did the very first round. The participants pointed to the direction of the container with food and the dogs followed him with interest.
Dr. Takaoka was surprised to see that the dogs “devalued the reliability of a human” very quickly.
Apparently, all they needed was one false direction from the experimenters.
“Dogs have more sophisticated social intelligence than we thought. This social intelligence evolved selectively in their long-life history with humans.”
She also adds that their next important step will be to closely test related animal species such as wolves. This would then reveal the “profound effects of domestication” on the social intelligence of dogs.
So, it seems that after all that old saying “If your dog doesn’t like someone you probably shouldn’t either” is true.
Trust your dog’s gut. It’s probably true.