Dogs are social, interactive animals who have an ability to love and trust. Dogs love and trust their owners more than life itself. But to assume that dogs trust everyone, is a mistake. Dogs are fiercely instinctive animals. They invest their trust in people but they are capable of seeing patterns in behavior.
Hence, next time your dog is barking at someone, it is maybe because your dog sees what you fail to see.
1. Dogs Can Spot Liars
Akiko Takaoka, Ph.D. of Kyoto University (Japan), conducted an experiment with 24 dogs. In the experiment, a researcher pointed the dogs to a container with food hidden under it initially. In the second phase, the researcher pointed the dogs to an empty container. All dogs followed the given direction to the empty container. In the the third phase of the experiment, the researcher again directed the dogs to the correct container, with food under it. But, only 8% of the dogs followed his directions this time.
As per the study, dogs are capable of understanding the concept of human pointing. Dogs are capable of making inferences about reliability of people and change their behaviors per inferences they obtain out of their experiences.
2. Dogs Know Whom To Trust
Researchers further wanted to find out if dogs can differentiate between people and then choose to mistrust particular individuals.
So, a different researcher pointed to the correct container this time, and interestingly, the dogs gave him the benefit of doubt and followed his directions.
It shows that dogs can differentiate between people and mistrust only individuals who lie, and not everyone.
Interestingly, it has been found that children are incapable of showing such complex thinking and are willing to trust individuals who lie repeatedly, until they reach an age of 5 years.