Dogs Can Sense ‘Bad People’, Science Confirms

The dog is man’s best friend, we all know that. But being perfect companions and loyal friends to people are not the only qualities these furry fellows possess.

It has been long known that dogs can even recognize a ‘bad’ person. However, up to a few years ago, this idea was confirmed only by dog owners and dog lovers. Until a study from 2014 scientifically proved this to be true. The fact is that dogs have very well developed senses and can feel if you’re happy, worried or angry. But according to the study, they can also sense if someone is rather bad-tempered, according to specific hints given by the person.

The study that was published in the journal Animal Cognition. It was carried out by the team of Akiko Takaoka of Kyoto University in Japan and included a group of 34 dogs.

They participated in an experiment with three rounds.

In the first round, dogs were pointed to a container full of food. In the second round, they were pointed to a container that was actually empty. The third round was very similar to the first one, but the interesting part was that in this third round fewer dogs reacted to the hints.

After these experiments, a new person was asked to repeat the first round. This time the dogs trusted the new experimenter and followed the signal.

“Dogs have more sophisticated social intelligence than we thought. This social intelligence evolved selectively in their long life history with humans,” Takaoka said.

And according to the conclusions of 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 modifies their behavior flexibly depending on the inference.”

Furthermore, this is not the only research confirming that dogs can tell when someone is mean.

A study published in Neuroscience and Biobehavioural Reviews claims that dogs know when someone is behaving badly with their owners. That discovery was made after the researchers conducted the following experiment. They made a few dog owners ask other people for help while their dogs watched on.

Each dog owner pretended to try and fail to open a container. Then he or she had to ask two researchers to help out. Every time, one of the scientists stood passively, while the other tried to help the owner to open the container, or refused to help at all. After that, both researchers would give a treat to the dog. When one of the scientists helped while the other stood passively, the dogs would take a treat from both of the researchers. Or in other words, they didn’t prefer the one who has helped their owner.

But the most interesting discovery was that actually, the dogs would refuse to take a treat from the researchers who didn’t help their owners.

The pooches would, however, take the treat given by the scientists who stood passively during the experiment.

So, our furry buddies really can understand when someone is being mean. And that is another reason for earning the title “man’s best friend”.

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