One of the most important qualities in a good friend is the ability to read people and tell you who's bad for you and who's not. As a man's best friend, science argues that a dog has this quality in all its glory.
I bet you have seen how a dog can be hostile towards a stranger and warm up towards them once they are friendly towards the owner.
Dog Lovers Argue It's Because Dogs Can Read People.
But you can hardly take dog owners and pet lovers at their words.
Let's be honest. We exaggerate a little when talking about our favorite things.
So, science had to come and back up these claims.
In 2014, this happened in a scientific study, whose findings were published in Animal Cognition.
The research was done in Japan, by a team of researchers from Kyoto University. In total, 34 dogs were involved in the study in a three-round experiment.
We Already Knew Dogs Have Pretty High Emotional Intelligence.
They can even tell if you are happy or upset and try to make you feel better.
Their abilities extend far beyond this since they can tell if you have a bad temper, and also if you are a bad person.
In the first round of this experiment, the dogs were directed towards a food-filled container.
The second round of the study involved the dogs being directed towards an empty food container.
In the third round, the dogs were again directed towards a container with food.
The interesting thing about this study was that, in the third round of the experiment, fewer dogs were interested.
Once these experiments were over, a new person came in to direct the dogs towards a container with food. Surprisingly, the dogs trusted the new person more and responded to the signal.
That, right there, shows that dogs have incredible social intelligence, more than humans ever expected.
The study also shows that dogs are very skilled at taking signals from humans and making conclusions about their intentions.
However, this is not the only experiment in which dogs have been shown to discern people's intentions.
In another study, it was discovered that dogs can tell when their owners are being mistreated. In the experiment, the dog owners were made to ask for help from other people as their dogs watched.
During the experiment, the dog owners were made to pretend to open a container without success. Then two researchers tried to help. One researcher would help, while the other just stood there.
After the experiment, the researcher would give the dog a treat. The dogs accepted the treats regardless of whether or not the researcher had helped.
However, when the researcher flat out refused to help the dog owner, the dog would also refuse the treat they got from them. This is despite the fact that the dogs showed no problem accepting treats from researchers who just stood by as the owner tried to open the container.
What Does This Mean?
It's clear from this experiment that the dogs can tell when someone is being mean and refuse to respond to them.
So yes, dogs can tell the difference between good and bad people. So, many devoted dog owners are right to think their dogs can 'detect' bad people. But more importantly, this reaffirms the age-old phrase that a dog is a "man's best friend."