Dogs Can Tell When People Are Mean to Their Owners, and They Don’t Like It

If you are mean to their owner, dogs want nothing to do with you, or food for that matter.

In a new study led by Kazuo Fujita at Kyoto University in Japan, a team of researchers wanted to test a dog’s loyalty to its owner. The group examined 18 dogs and the pups were presented with three different scenarios which entailed its owner with two strangers trying to open a box.

The first group of dogs observed the owner asking one of the strangers for assistance opening the box. The stranger refused to help.

Related: The Reason Why Your Dog Gets Excited Every Time You Open the Door

In the second group the owners asked one of the strangers to help and the person obliged.

The last group the dogs watched as the owner open the box and the strangers had zero interaction with the person.

After each scenario, the strangers offered the pup food. The dogs were more likely to accept the kibble from the neutral person and give the strangers the cold shoulder if they had refused to help their owner with the box.

The results show that loyalty even trumps food. It also reveals that dogs can cooperate socially, a trait that isn’t found in too many species.

“We discovered for the first time that dogs make social and emotional evaluations of people regardless of their direct interest,” Fujita told The Guardian.

This study will appear in Animal Behaviour later this month.

Related: Gazing Into Your Dog’s Eyes Helps the Two of You Bond

H/T The Guardian

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