Recent research says your dog knows if someone is not trustworthy! Dogs may bark at their reflection, chase their own tails, or eat their own poop, but they are clever beings. Dogs are very socially aware – both of humans and of each other.
We all know what dogs know what it means when a human points at something. When a dog owner points to the location of anything – be it a toy, food, or ball— the dog will run towards the area the person is pointing to.
Recent dog research been found that dogs can also easily figure out if these gestures are misleading. In a study published in the journal Animal Cognition, Akiko Takaoka of Kyoto University and her team put 34 dogs through three rounds of pointing.
In the first round, a researcher pointed to where food was hidden in a container, and in the second round, he pointed to an empty container.
In the third round food was once again placed in the container, but when the research pointed the dogs did not respond to the cue.
The dogs’ reactions suggest that they use their experience of the human to assess whether they were a reliable guide, says Takaoka.
The next part of the experiment was to substitute the pointer. Another human did exactly the same thing as the first had done. The dogs, once again, followed the new person with interest.
Takaoka says she was surprised that the dogs “devalued the reliability of a human” so quickly.
“Dogs have more sophisticated social intelligence than we thought. This social intelligenceevolved selectively in their long life history with humans,” she said.
John Bradshaw of the University of Bristol, says Takaoka’s study highlights that dogs like things to be predictable.
As soon as events become inconsistent, they will look for alternative things to do and if they still don’t know what’s going to happen next, they can get stressed, aggressive or fearful, he adds.
“Dogs whose owners are inconsistent to them often have behavioral disorders,” Bradshaw said.”Dogs are almost information junkies”, says Bradshaw, so a new experimenter is “trusted” once more.
“Dogs are very sensitive to human behavior but they have fewer preconceptions,” he says. “They live in the present, they don’t reflect back on the past in an abstract way, or plan for the future.”
Several studies have shown that dogs can sense human emotions. In fact, recent research found that they can tell the difference between happy and angry faces. This new study takes it one step further.