Your Dog Knows if You’re Generous or Selfish!
27 October, 2017
We love our dogs unconditionally and of course, want them to love us just as much. But, how does that work? Do dogs like us better if we’re generous? Well, a new study concluded that domestic and shelter dogs prefer generous over selfish people! So, watch out!
The study published in PLOS one suggests dogs can recognize AND remember generosity
A new study published in scientific journal PLOS One suggests dogs can recognize and remember whether a person is generous or selfish. The really amazing part was their remembering.
Using a group of family dogs, shelter dogs and puppies, there were two rounds of sessions
They used a group of family dogs, shelter dogs and puppies and directed two rounds of training sessions, followed by a choice session:
In the initial training, a person pointed to a bowl filled with roasted chicken and allowed the dog to eat it. This action represented generosity.
Then another person directed the dog to food but ate it themselves before the dog could! This represented selfishness.
After each session, both generous and selfish humans held up a bowl and the dogs preferred the generous people!
After each session, both the generous and selfish humans held up a food bowl, allowing the dog to choose which person to approach. Both the family and the shelter dogs preferred to approach the person who had been generous. Smart dogs!
Dogs took even longer in the second training– they could remember the selfish humans
In a second training, the adult dogs took even longer to approach the selfish humans as they pointed to a food bowl. To the researchers, that supported the idea that dogs can recall and respond to generosity.
Shelter dogs and puppies behaved a bit differently from family dogs
While the family dogs were good at picking up human cues, like pointing, sheltered dogs were less practiced. Shelter dogs could still differentiate between generous and selfish humans, the study found.
Puppies weren’t able to differentiate between who was generous or selfish at all. Which lead researchers to note that dogs must learn to be discerning or maybe these puppies hadn’t fully developed a capacity for communication.
So what’s the real take away? That dogs can truly distinguish behaviors and then associate those behaviors with the people who perform them. So, the next time you’re eating that chicken dish, you might just want to share some with your dog.
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