We already know dogs are already man’s best friend, but their loyalty has been proven yet again with a new study from Japan.
The study revealed that dogs know if someone is mean to their owners and will even refuse food that person offers to them — Pavlov’s theory be damned.
Researchers led by Kazuo Fujita, a professor of comparative cognition at Kyoto University, tested three groups of 18 dogs using a scenario in which their owners needed to open a box.
According to Yahoo! News, the study went like this:
“In all three groups, the owner was accompanied by two people whom the dog did not know.
In the first group, the owner sought assistance from one of the other people, who actively refused to help.
In the second group, the owner asked for, and received, help from one person. In both groups, the third person was neutral and not involved in either helping or refusing to help.
Neither person interacted with the dog’s owner in the control — third — group.
After watching the box-opening scene, the dog was offered food by the two unfamiliar people in the room.”
The results? Dogs who saw their owner being refused help were far more likely to choose snacks from the neutral observer, and to ignore the offer from the person who had refused to help. Dogs whose owners were assisted and dogs whose owners did not interact with either person showed no preference with accepting food from the strangers.
“We discovered for the first time that dogs make social and emotional evaluations of people regardless of their direct interest,” Fujita said. “This ability is one of key factors in building a highly collaborative society, and this study shows that dogs share that ability with humans.”
Not only are our dogs kisses healthy, but now if we didn’t already suspect that our loyal canine friend was, indeed, loyal, now there is scientific fact backing that up. So if you’re ever unsure whether someone’s being mean to you or not, look to your dog: he’ll know.
We think it’s time to treat our dog to a great snack.