Dogs are the best friends we have. They love their owners unconditionally and make sure that they are safe and protected with them.
But, however close they might be, dogs are still looked upon as animals with limited conscious capabilities. We can’t compare them to human beings or human thought processes according to us, until now.
A study done by Akiko Takaoka from the Kyoto University in Japan tried to examine the trustworthiness of dogs, especially towards humans. Their paper concluded that dogs might have social intelligence that is much better than many animals. Two experiments were conducted for this purpose.
This experiment was conducted with the purpose of trying to identify whether dogs can become aware if they are being lied to or not.
The test was simple and it was based on a simple principle: when you point at something, a dog goes towards it and investigates. If not, they will at least look at that direction. However, if you are pointing at nothing, the dog will be able to catch your bluff.
In the experiment, the research team chose 34 dogs. Three rounds of pointing took place. In the first round, the researchers pointed at a container which did contain food. The dog got its reward.
The second time, they pointed at a container which did not have any food and so the dog got bluffed. The third time when the researchers pointed at a container with food, the dog did not follow through.
After being bluffed once, the dog started doubting the ‘pointer’ and did not want to follow their command. The same result came for the rest of the dogs.
Thus, this gives enough proof regarding the social intelligence of dogs. It might have been due to their prolonged exposure with us humans which is why they have taken up social cues and learned from us. Trust is an important issue for dogs.
But now that a certain aspect of dogs’ nature was discovered, the researchers wanted to push it further. This time, they wanted to check whether it is possible for dogs to understand the character of a human being.
This was somewhat far-fetched but it depended on a study reported by Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews.
It said that dogs were able to understand the communication between owners and other people. To check this hypothesis and find out more about it, an experiment was conducted with the dog’s owners.
In this experiment, two people came and interacted with the owner. This was done with the dog standing and seeing everything regarding the interaction.
One person was kind to the owner and helped them, if they needed any help. The other person was cruel to the owner and quite vocal about being mean.
The result of these interactions was then observed when either of these people came to the dog and offered it some food. Any change in the dog’s behavior gave a lot of insight.
The dog was very friendly with the first person and went up to them when they wanted to give it some treat. But when the mean person tried to give something to the dog, the dog did not bother to respond.
It just went on to further cement the theory that dogs had a keen sense of social behaviors and cues and they are highly perceptive about it.
Takaoka’s experiment comes as a revelation and it brings a whole new perspective about our furry buddies.
But now, we do not need to see dogs as just animals. Sometimes, they can be almost as human as we can be.
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