We all know our pups are great judges of character, but a new study shows that they may be even better at judging people than we thought. The research published in Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews suggests that dogs are able to determine when someone is intentionally being rude and unhelpful to their owner and will react negatively to antisocial behavior.
The social experiment was first conducted on Capuchin monkeys, then dogs. The dogs were placed in a scenario where they watched their owner struggling to open a container. An actor approached the owner and either helped or refused to help entirely. Another passive actor was present in the room as a control and remained neutral. Then the actors presented the dog with a treat.
The results were that dogs were more likely to refuse the treat from the rude, unhelpful actor while accepting the treat from the helpful or passive bystander. The dogs showed similar responses to the monkeys who were placed in the experiment. Both clearly avoided the actor displaying antisocial behavior.
From the experiment, we may be able to draw the conclusion that dogs have a sense of morality similar to human infants. They can evaluate social interactions and have an emotional response to them. Dogs may be more in touch with our feelings than we thought, so next time you’re acting rude or unhelpful, just remember that your dog is watching and probably judging you.
Do you think your dog is a good judge of character? Can your dog tell when someone is being rude to you? Let us know in the comments below!