Study says dogs can identify mean people

The study shows that dogs will avoid people who are jerks.

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All animals are lovely and beautiful in their own way, but let’s get honest, nothing really beats dogs. Canines are the only creatures who love their owners more than they love themselves. Their loyalty and devotion towards the human kind have be proven throughout the years and that is the reason why these loving animals make best pets and best friends.

According to a recent study published in the journal Neuroscience and Biobehavioural Reviews, dogs are also likely to sense who’s been a jerk and who’s been a nice person. This discovery doesn’t really come as a surprise as dogs possess this unique ability of sensing things such as alerting the owners when there is an intruder around.

Based on their ability to judge what kind of a person someone is, they treat that individual accordingly.

“Dogs are known to consistently follow human pointing gestures. In this study, we asked whether dogs ‘automatically’ do this or whether they flexibly adjust their behavior depending upon the reliability of the pointer, demonstrated in an immediately preceding event,” the study says.

Researchers based these results on an experiment they conducted. It involved dogs, their owners, and random strangers who acted towards the owners in a different manner. Namely, the owner needed help opening a jar, and in the first scenario a volunteer passes by and offers help, the second scenario involves a volunteer who is passive, and the third involves a person who refuses to help the dog’s owner.

At the end of the experiment, each of the three volunteers offered the dogs treats. Whereas the canines were willing to accept the treat from the volunteers who helped and those who remained passive, they refused approaching those who didn’t help their owners.

Did the dogs think some of the volunteers were jerks and bad people? We say yes. This is just another proof that dogs can sense who should they trust and who should they be around.

“These results suggest that not only dogs are highly skilled at understanding human pointing gestures, but also they make inferences about the reliability of a human who presents cues and consequently modify their behavior flexibly depending on the inference,” the study says.


This means dog owners should mind their behavior when around their pets. Dogs could easily say when the way you treat someone isn’t right, and if in this case they are looking at you as though they judge you, well, they probably are.

What do you think ?