Recent research into domestic dogs has found that they are extraordinary perceptive when it comes to reading human gestures and facial expressions. Now new study suggests that they are also capable of deducing just how trustworthy a person is and acting accordingly.
Dogs know when a person is untrustworthy
In a new study conducted by Akiko Takaoka of Kyoto University in Japan, the ability of dogs to understand that a person was not trustworthy was assessed. To test out the dogs’ ability to make this kind of judgment call, the dogs’ owners pointed to a container with food in it. The dogs ran to the container and ate the food. In the second place, another person pointed at the bowl without any food in it. When this action was repeated, the dog ignored the person looking at the container demonstrating that they had learned that the person was not to be trusted. This result was consistent across all thirty-four dogs included in the study.
Recent research has also shown that dogs are also capable of forming loyalty with their owners against other people. In an experiment, the dog owner would ask someone for help. In some cases, the person approached would be helpful and other times they were rude or aggressive towards the owner. After this, they would attempt to offer the dog a treat. The research found that the dogs would happily accept the gift from a person who was kind to their own or did nothing in response to the request for help but would snub those who were rude to their owners. This demonstrates that dogs have a far more precise understanding of human social interactions than had previously been supposed.
Further research is currently being conducted on how well dogs understand the social world and human interactions. If the current study is anything to go on, it may well be the case that scientists will find that dogs are far more sensitive than they have been given credit for.