Dog has long been man's best friend, and according to a new study, that feeling may be mutual. Japanese researchers have found that dogs can not only tell when people are being not so nice to their owners, but that they will also respond coldly or completely snub those rude people in future interactions.
The researchers conducted an experiment where they had three groups of dogs watch their owners interact with two strangers in attempts to open a box. In the first group, one stranger would remain neutral when the owner asked for help, and one stranger would refuse to help. In the second group, one stranger would again remain neutral, and the other stranger would offer help. In the third and final group, both strangers remained neutral, neither offering or refusing help.
After the interaction both of the strangers would offer food to the dog. Researchers found that in the first group the dog would ignore the rude stranger and accept food from the neutral party. In the other two groups there was no preference from which stranger the dog would accept food from.
“We discovered for the first time that dogs make social and emotional evaluations of people regardless of their direct interest,” said lead researcher Kazuo Fujita, a professor of comparative cognition at Kyoto University.
Now dog owners can know for sure that their furry friend has got their back.