When it comes to meeting new people in the world, there’s a 200% chance we want to stay away from bad people–you know, the ones who are just straight up not good human beings.
While we all wish we had a “radar” that can indicate what people are “good” vs. “bad,” most of the time, we have to let someone into our lives and get to know them before we figure out whether or not they’re “good people.” But, apparently, we have someone else in our lives who can help us navigate this big, bold world filled with bad people–our dogs.
A new study conducted by Akiko Takaoka of Kyoto University in Japan wanted to test out if a dog would trust a person who lied to them. The outcome of the study was to determine whether or not an animal can truly comprehend and decide whether or not a person is untrustworthy and dangerous.
The test was relatively simple: a human would point to a container of dog food filled up and the dog would run to that container. Then, a human would point to a container of dog food that is empty, but the dog would run to this one, as well. However, the third time the human pointed at a container of food, the dog didn’t run to it at all–being uneasy with the inconsistency and the “lying” notion of the previous container. According to the Animal Cognition Journal, 34 dogs were used in the study and all 34 of the dogs did not go to the third container.
Further research also showcased that dogs would be uncomfortable or untrusting of humans who were aggressive towards their owners. The experiment that used treats showed that if a human was aggressive or “rude” to their owner, they wouldn’t take a treat from them. However, strangers who were kind to their owners were fine. Surprisingly, dogs do understand social cues in humans better than we think.
So, the next time you’re unsure about someone in your life, why not bring your dog around to test the waters? They clearly have a better understanding than some of us.