Scientists say your dog can manipulate you? by Bright Side. Look at your dog, a sweet fur baby with soft paws, a wagging tail, and puppy eyes that can melt a heart of stone! And now, brace yourself: your beloved pooch may be lying to you right at this moment.
At least that’s the conclusion made by a study published in 2017 in the journal Animal Cognition. So, Swiss researchers decided to check if dogs, such lovable innocent creatures, could actually use their charm to make people do what they wanted.
I know! How could such a ridiculous idea even come to mind? In any case, they decided to get to the bottom of this theory. The researchers chose 27 dogs aged 1 to 14 years old and trained them to distinguish between two women, according to how generous they were with food.
So, one woman always treated the dogs with something tasty while the other just showed the treat to the animals and then put it back into her pocket. Yes, she was THAT mean! Later on, special tests showed that the dogs preferred – you’ll never guess – the woman generous with treats. Hmm… So far, it doesn’t sound too surprising; I would also choose the person who fed me tasty stuff. But wait, there’s more to this research!
After the dogs had caught on which person was, let’s say, “competitive” (meaning the one who kept the food for herself) and which one was “cooperative” (meaning sharing tasty things), they were invited to a special room. There were three boxes inside, one with sausage slices, the second with not so appealing dry treats, and the third with nothing.
Amazingly, after several attempts, the dogs started to take the “cooperative” woman to the treat they liked most and the “competitive” woman to the empty box! In other words, the dogs lied and altered their behavior to change the situation for their own benefit! How cool is that?
According to the researchers, it means that pooches realize how their actions will influence the behavior of those around them! Are there any other stories that can prove the idea of innocent pooches manipulating you? Plenty!
For example, one dog, called Max, pretended to see something exciting in the yard, and when his fellow dog, Lucy, rushed outside to check what it was, Max occupied the best sleeping spot. And what about dogs that pretend to be hungry to get one more meal from a different family member? If you’re a happy dog owner, this situation might ring a bell, right?
Another fur-ball used to run up to the windows and start barking. Every time the dog owner looked out, he could see nothing, but he patted the pooch anyway saying, “Good guarding.” The man was sure that dogs couldn’t lie or deceive you. In his opinion, they might misread the situation, but never manipulated their owners.
Well, I wouldn’t be so sure, but what do you think? Can dogs actually be manipulative? Let me know down in the comments! Dogs are such fascinating creatures that people have been studying them for years, and naturally, this isn’t the only research that reveals their unusual traits and skills.
For example, in 2008, researchers from the University of Vienna studied 43 trained dogs from 14 different breeds. The scientists wanted to find out whether man’s best friends felt emotions like envy or jealousy. The results of their experiment were nothing but surprising.
The dogs were supposed to shake paws every time the researchers asked them to. And they eagerly followed the orders… until they discovered that other dogs got better treats for doing the same thing. After that, the dogs who weren’t given the best treats began to obey much less often, just 13 out of 30 times.
They also looked stressed and licked and scratched themselves. All in all, they clearly showed how dismayed they were about the unfairness of the world. On top of that, the same dogs were calm and indifferent when they were ignored.
But as soon as their owner began to shower a stuffed dog with attention, the pooches turned into evil beasts. They started to snarl, snap, and try to wrench the toy out of the owners’ hands under the influence of the green-eyed monster. But dogs being jealous, envious, and manipulative is not the end of the story! It turns out that your pooch can be either an optimist or a pessimist!
Scientists at the University of Sydney ran special tests on a group of 40 dogs to figure out whether each animal was more of a pessimist or an optimist. And after that, the real fun began. The dogs learned to touch a target that could spur out either milk or water. Every time a dog touched the target, a particular tone played.
Soon the pooches understood which sound meant milk and which one stood for water, and they started to touch the target only after the milk tone. But then the researchers played a trick on the poor dogs. They began to play new sounds which were the combination of the water tone and the milk one.
That probably made the dogs think, “Well, this kinda sounds like milk but not exactly, or maybe it’s water? Help, I’m starting to panic!” Obviously, the scientists weren’t able to read the pooches’ mind, but with the help of this experiment, they managed to confirm that dogs are either optimists or pessimists.
The optimistic dogs kept hitting the target when they heard unclear signals even though they got water every single time. They just went on trying again and again. These dogs never lost hope! As for the pessimistic pooches, they refused to risk and didn’t want to take chances.
They pretended to be busy with licking their paws, they looked away from the target, and some of them even chose to lie down on their beds and pout. In the end, the researchers found out that 6 dogs were optimists, 6 pooches were pessimists, and the rest were somewhere in the middle between seeing the world in dark colors and living on the bright side.
Interestingly, pessimistic dogs also showed much more prominent signs of separation anxiety than their more optimistic mates. On the whole, dogs have way more developed emotions than you might have thought. For example, in 2012, scientists from the University of London proved that dogs do feel empathy.
Eighteen dogs stayed in the room with their owner or a stranger who either carried out a quiet conversation or hummed something. However, sometimes the people pretended to cry. It turned out that no dogs reacted to a conversation and only a few paid attention to the odd humming.
But almost all the dogs came up to the human who pretended to be crying. The pooches were obviously offering comfort and looked very concerned about a person’s condition. But the most startling fact was that animals didn’t distinguish between crying people.
They were ready to comfort an unhappy stranger as willingly as their own master. Dogs aren’t only incredibly empathic; they are also really intelligent. According to scientists, some of the smartest dog breeds are border collies, poodles, golden retrievers, Dobermans, and German shepherds.
Ever notice that your pooch ignores your commands during a walk in the local park? Don’t blame it; your pet just thinks that your order is unreasonable. Several studies discovered that dogs may disregard their owners’ bad advice. If a pooch knows a more efficient way to solve some task, it will use it.
On top of that, your dog may refuse to fetch a ball or carry a stick if it sees that other nearby dogs get better rewards for the same tasks. Look at your pet: its head is cowered, its ears are flat against the head, and these droopy eyes… aww… What a perfect picture of guilt! You know what? Right now you’re fooling yourself.
Scientists believe that dogs CANNOT feel guilt. Researchers from Barnard College, New York City, ran a series of tests that involved 14 dogs. The pooches had to stay alone in a room with a treat after their owners had told them not to eat it and left.
Then the people returned and scolded their pets no matter whether the animals had eaten the treat or not. And guess what? Both the dogs that had eaten the treat and the obedient ones reacted in the same way every single time: bowed head, flat ears, and puppy eyes. This way, the researchers concluded that dogs’ “guilty look” is nothing but the reaction to their owners’ scolding.
On the other hand, the same scientists admit that it may not mean that your beloved pooch doesn’t feel ashamed after having chewed up your new sneakers.
Do you know any other cool facts about dogs? If so, sound off in the comment section below! Remember to rate ” Scientists say your dog can manipulate you? by Bright Side”, share this post with your friends who love dogs as much as you do.
Credit: Bright Side