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New study proves dogs can judge character

Posted at 12:27 PM, Mar 02, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-02 14:27:37-05

Ever wonder why your dog randomly gets excited or growls at someone? Take note, because they may be trying to tell you something.

A new study published in the journal “Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews” found that dogs are capable of recognizing whether someone is being nice or rude to another person. Much like humans do, dogs process information to influence how they respond to others.

For this study, dog owners were asked to pretend to struggle opening a container, while asking the researchers for help. In one scenario, the researcher stood there passively. In the second scenario, the researcher either helped or refused to help. Afterwards, the researchers offered the dogs treats. The pooches showed a clear preference, refusing treats from the researchers who were rude to their owners.

Kim Stoll is a Development Specialist at Pima Animal Care Center, With a background in canine behavior, she believes there is truth to this study. "Dogs are always watching us and always analyzing how are they going to interact with us. And I think dogs see human's intention way more than humans see each other's intention. So, you can't really lie to a dog."

And this study can be helpful if you're planning on adopting. Stoll says, "Be relaxed. Be yourself. If you're high energy and a happy kind of person, we want to pair you with the right dog for what you are like and what your life is like." 

So, just because a dog doesn’t understand every word someone says, doesn’t mean they can’t pick up on the cues. They really are man’s best friend.


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