Science has recently confirmed something we all already knew: Dogs dislike people who are mean to their owners.
Now, I’m sure the majority of us reading this article are probably thinking to ourselves that it’s pretty obvious our dogs have our backs. They are there for us when we cry, when we are happy, on family trips… However, critics have often questioned whether our beloved pets feel or have the ability to feel what we do, even on an emotional level. Well, now there is some proof out there that our dogs really do understand us, and what happens to us.
A recent study published in the journal Animal Behaviour concludes the idea that dogs can tell when their owners are being mistreated by others, and as such may snub the people inflicting the pain, discomfort, or lack of help toward said owners. The researchers of the study, from Kyoto University, conducted an experiment on three groups of 18 dogs witnessing 2 strangers being mean, neutral, or helpful to their owners when they needed help opening a box. The same strangers would then offer treats to the dogs as the researchers noted the reactions of the dogs to the individuals and gesture.
In the first group, the stranger asked to help actively refused to do so. In the second group, the stranger helped. In the last group, both strangers asked acted neutral toward the owner asking for help.
In the first group, the dogs were far more likely to refuse food from the mean stranger, but accept food from the neutral stranger. Regarding the two other groups, no documented difference was noted and the dogs took the treats equally.
Dog are very social creatures and can pick up on verbal and nonverbal clues, and don’t always act on just self-interest. If that were the case, the study states, the dogs would have taken the treats no matter the behavior of the person dispensing them. The study also stated that the behavior these dogs exhibited aren’t seen in children until they are around three years of age, and is a foreign concept to much of the rest of the animal kingdom. Talk about interesting!
In the meantime, grab that special pooch and give him a treat and hug, and reward them for their loyalty and love to you. They deserve it.