Have you ever noticed that your dog seems to react really weirdly to certain people?
From the stranger that your normally well-behaved dog barks at in the street to the friend that your dog refuses to go near, sometimes it seems dogs just know when someone is a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ person.
And now it turns out our suspicions were right all along.
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According to a new study, dogs really can tell when someone is a ‘bad’ person.
The new study, which was published in the journal Animal Cognition, found that dogs can sense when a person is untrustworthy.
Conducted in Japan, the study involved presenting a group of 34 dogs with the pointing gesture three times.
The first time, the dogs were pointed over to a bowl of food and the second time around, the dogs were sent over to an empty food bowl.
Finally, in the third time, the dogs were sent to another bowl of food. But after losing trust in the person giving the command, considerably fewer dogs responded to the cue.
“These results suggest that not only are dogs highly skilled at understanding human pointing gestures, but also they make inferences about the reliability of a human who presents cues and consequently modify their behaviour flexibly depending on the inference,” the study said.
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Well, there you have it. Dogs really can tell if someone is trustworthy.
Studies have also shown that dogs have been known to hold grudges, especially against people who are unkind to their owners.
It’s also a common belief that dogs are so in tune with their owners that they often mimic their owner’s emotions.
For instance, if you’re feeling anxious or uncertain while meeting a new person, your dog is likely to feel uncertain as well.