If I don’t like you so does my dog, is that true? Can dogs make social and emotional evaluations of people?
If you had or have a dog, the following might not really surprise you, but it is surely interesting.
The tests involved 54 differently aged dogs, their parents and two strangers. Dogs were separated into 3 groups. In one group, dog parents asked one of the strangers to assist them in something, which they refused rudely. The second group approached the strangers and they were willing to help and friendly. The third group didn’t’ interact with the strangers at all, they remained neutral. Afterwards the two ‘strangers’ offered the dogs food.
Dogs that saw their owner being rebuffed were far more likely to choose food from the neutral observer, and to ignore the offer from the person who had refused to help, Fujita said.
Dogs whose parents were helped and dogs whose parents did not interact with either person showed no marked preference for accepting snacks from the strangers.
“We discovered for the first time that dogs make social and emotional evaluations of people regardless of their direct interest,” Fujita told AFP.
“This ability is one of key factors in building a highly collaborative society, and this study shows that dogs share that ability with humans,” he said.
Now, go give your pooch a nice belly rub.