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Your Dog Can Tell When Someone’s A Bad Person, According To Science

Your Dog Can Tell When Someone’s A Bad Person, According To Science

Is there anything bad about dogs? Don't answer that, because we already know.

'No' is the answer. Dogs are 100% awesome and there's nothing that needs to be changed about them (even when they're chewing our fave shoes or farting like Uncle Steve at Christmas).

So good are dogs in fact, that they can even recognise a 'bad' person. While most pup owners can attest the legitimacy of this statement, a study has confirmed it to be true - and you can't argue with facts.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

Dogs are very socially aware creatures and, as well as being able to sense when you're happy, sad or angry, as the research shows, they can also sense when a person is untrustworthy, according to certain cues the person gives.

The study - published in the journal Animal Cognition - was conducted by a team led by Akiko Takaoka of Kyoto University in Japan. It involved presenting a group of 34 pooches with three rounds of the pointing gesture.

In the first round, dogs were pointed towards a container of food and in the second round, they were pointed to an empty container. The third round was the same as the first, only this time something interesting happened: fewer dogs responded to the cue.


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Following these rounds, a new experimenter replicated the first phase again and guess what? The dogs trusted them and followed the gesture.


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As the report states: "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."

Takaoka added: "Dogs have more sophisticated social intelligence than we thought. This social intelligence evolved selectively in their long life history with humans."

Adding to this theory, a study reported last year suggests that dogs are able to know when a human is being a bit of a dick to their owner.


Published in Neuroscience and Biobehavioural Reviews, the experiment asked dog owners to act out a scenario where they asked people for help while their pups watched on.

After, it was discovered that the dogs wouldn't take a treat from the participants who behaved in a bad or rude way towards their owners - they'd rather nab a snack from one of the cool ones who helped their bestie.

In short, your dog is awesome and can tell if a person is not deserving of your time. Oh yeah, and did we mention dogs are the best? But you didn't need us to tell you that.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Study, Animals, Dogs, Puppies, Experiment

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Daisy Phillipson

Daisy is a UK-based freelance journalist with too many opinions. She loves everything film and music-related and has a track record writing for Little White Lies, BWRC, and Film Daily. Contact her at [email protected]