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Dogs Know Who Not to Trust

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A heartwarming image of a human hand gently cradling a dog's paw, symbolizing the unbreakable bond and unwavering trust between dogs and their human companions.

It is known that dogs can pick up our emotions. They know when we are happy, feeling stressed or feeling down in the dumps. And now, it is reported that man’s best friend can tell if people aren’t trustworthy.

In a study conducted led by Akiko Takaoka of Kyoto University in Japan and published in the journal Animal Cognition, researchers examined 34 dogs behavior in an experiment involving pointing and food, according to BBC. (It has been understood for some time that dogs understand when humans point to an area they should go scope it out.)

Related: New Research Sheds Light on the Evolution of Dogs

First, the researchers pointed to a hidden container that had food in it. On the second run, they pointed to a container that had no food in it.

When it came to the third time, the researcher reverted back to the first round and pointed to a container with food. Interestingly, the pooch didn’t respond to the person’s pointing. So quickly, the trust dissipated.

After these rounds were completed, a new researcher would enter the picture and repeat the process. Again, the dog would follow the person’s cues until the researcher betrayed her trust.

Besides highlighting trust issues, the findings reiterate that dogs like routine. John Bradshaw of the University of Bristol in the UK (not involved in the experiment) told BBC that things stop being predictable, dogs will lose interest or look for other things to do.

And if this type of inconsistency continues to happen in a dog’s life, she may act out, get anxious, become fearful or aggressive. “Dogs whose owners are inconsistent to them often have behavioural disorders,” he tells the outlet.

Related: Having a Dog May Reduce a Child’s Risk of Developing Asthma

Main image from Flickr/SuperFantastic

By Andrea Huspeni

Andrea Huspeni is the founder and CEO of This Dog's Life. Her mission it to help dogs live a happier, healthier and longer life. When she isn't working, she spends time with her two dogs, Lola and Milo. She resides in Brooklyn, NY.

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