I’ve always believed that man’s best friend really does know when a bad person is in their midst. And I’m happy to report that there’s science to back it up.
Dogs may not seem like the sharpest tools in the shed a lot of times. They chase their tails, they eat garbage, and they’re deathly afraid of the vacuum cleaner. But it looks like they are able to figure out who they should trust and who they shouldn’t.
In the study conducted by researchers at Kyoto University in Japan, dogs used an age-old trick to get to the bottom of canine psychology. We’ve long known that dogs will run when humans point to an object, whether it’s a stick, a ball, or even another person they like. The researchers used this behavior to inform their study.
The researchers pointed to a container that was filled with hidden food, which of course the dogs ran to, and they then pointed to an empty container, which the dogs ran to as well. In the third round, the person pointed again, this time to a container that did contain food, and the dogs refused to run to it. All the dogs in the experiment, 34 in total, refused to go to the third container after being sent to the empty container in the second round.
The evidence shows that the dogs used their experience with the person pointing and came to the conclusion that they were not be trusted because the dogs were lied to. The head researcher in the study said that dogs were very bright when they “devalued the reliability of a human.” In other words, dogs can spot a fake and if you lie to them, they might not believe you as much in the future.
Man’s best friend? Absolutely, but you better not lie to them, because they know what’s going on…