Don’t want to or can’t give your dog a treat? Something suggests your furry friend can tell the difference.
The strong bond between dogs and humans is well established, but science has a limited understanding of whether and how dogs understand the human intention.
But in a new study published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, researchers from the University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna have achieved results indicating that dogs can indeed understand human intentions.
Dogs Can Tell If You’re Giving Them The Treat Or Not!
To investigate whether dogs can distinguish between intentional and accidental actions, researchers had strangers offer dogs food while 8 different cameras tracked their body movements. The dog and person were separated by a transparent plastic panel with holes large enough for pieces of sausage to pass through.
In 96 trials with 48 dogs, experimenters either pretended to drop the food or fooled the dog by showing the sausage and then pulling it away. In all trials, the dogs had to wait 30 seconds before finally receiving their reward.
The study found that when the human pretended to accidentally drop the food, the dogs reacted more patiently by wagging their tails, making more eye contact, and staying closer to the barrier. The dogs that were fooled sat down and backed away from the panel more often.
The dogs that interacted with a clumsy person who wanted to give them a treat also wagged their tails more on their right side, indicating they were happy and relaxed. The results were consistent across different breeds, ages, and genders.
Overall, the study suggests that dogs have an understanding of human intention and are capable of distinguishing between intentional and accidental actions.
The researchers also found that dogs may have positive feelings towards clumsy humans who are trying to offer them a treat, indicating that they can empathize with humans and take into account their abilities.
The study’s findings provide further evidence of the complex relationship between dogs and humans and shed light on the cognitive abilities of dogs.
The researchers hope that their work will lead to further research into dog behavior and cognition, and help to deepen our understanding of these beloved and intelligent animals.
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If you’re looking for the most up-to-date recommendations, check out my recommended products section that I’ve created to help every dog owner!