Have you ever suspected your dog is mad at you for doing something stupid or leaving them behind for yet another vacation? Well, new research shows that dogs can and will hold grudges, but why?
Read also: “Do Dogs Like Music?“
Scientists from Kyoto University tested dog’s social cognition and showed that they can feel anger or resentment toward people that have mistreated them or someone close to them.
According to Daily Mail, researchers have conducted tests to see how dog’s feel about “actors” who gave food to the homeless, versus those who didn’t.
In this experiment, scientists noted that the dogs preferred the actors who gave food to the homeless. Although this may seem like a case closed study, they conducted more research with a paper box being the homeless man and the dog’s reacted positively to that as well. So there was a possibility the dogs were praising the actor giving food away in hopes to have the food too, just like the homeless man or the cardboard box.
In order to reach a final conclusion, scientist conducted another study with a can. In this study, 54 dog owners were asked to struggle with opening a can. Some “actors” were asked to assist in opening the can, while others were asked to turn away. The dogs preferred taking a treat from the helpful actors rather than taking a treat from the actors that did not help. This could be an indication of dogs using social eavesdropping skills.
“We discovered for the first time that dogs make social and emotional evaluations of people regardless of their direct interest,” Fujita said.
The study said: “Pet dogs are not merely passive observers of other individuals interactions. Instead, in some circumstances at least, they pay attention to the outcome of the interaction, evaluate how the actors behave and make use of that information in reaching a decision about which individuals to interact with or avoid.”
Very few animals have the ability to perceive social cues. Humans over the age of three, dogs and some monkeys can analyze social encounters.
“There is a similar study that showed tufted capuchins [a monkey native to South America] have this ability, but there is no evidence that chimpanzees demonstrate a preference unless there is a direct benefit to them,” said Kazuo Fujita, a professor of comparative cognition at Kyoto University.
In conclusion, this study shows dogs are spectacular creatures. They will have your back against anyone that disrespects you (or doesn’t help you open up a tin can). They can sense the energy in any room and they’ll always out bully the bully for you. They’re basically good-hearted humans but way cuter and with much more hair. So the next time you bring someone over and your dog doesn’t like them, take notes, your dog knows what’s going on.