While we spend a lot of time with our dogs, scientists are just beginning to invest more resources into understanding how our four-legged friend responds to us and our ways.
Indeed, in 2015 we penned a piece about how dogs know who is trustworthy, a post on how gazing into your dog’s eyes can help with bonding and as of recent, a story on how our four-legged friends aren’t down with hugs. And now, we know a little bit more about how dogs respond when we are mad.
A study conducted by Ross Flom, a psychology professor at Brigham Young University, found dogs tend to trust us less us when we are mad.
Flom conducted two experiments to measure how frequently a dog responds to a gesture to locate a reward. He examined 45 dogs who were matched up with undergraduates. In the first go-around, participants exhibited positive cues, including smiling and speaking in a pleasant tone. On the second time, participants acted in a negative light – frowning, speaking in a harsh tone and having a furrowed brow.
Flom and team discovered that while the positive experience did not improve response time, the negative one hindered it. When participants acted angry, dogs were more reluctant to take gesture cues from the person and explore unknown areas in search of the reward.
Image credit: Noël Zia Lee, Wikimedia Commons