In case there was any doubt, new research from Japan proves that dogs really are your best friend.
A series of tests from Kyoto University has shown that dogs can sense when their owners are being snubbed by someone – and that they’re just as inclined to return the shade.
The study placed three groups of 18 dogs into rooms with their owners, who were told to ask a stranger in the room for help in opening a container. Some would help the dog owner, while others rudely refused. The strangers were then asked to offer food to the owner’s dog, which yielded some telling results.
The dogs routinely refused food from the strangers who slighted their owners.
“We discovered for the first time that dogs make social and emotional evaluations of people regardless of their direct interest,” said Fujita, who is a professor of comparative cognition at the university.
That last part of Fujita’s conclusion is most interesting, as similar studies have shown only chimpanzees react to these social and emotional evaluations when there is a direct benefit to them.
Barking up the wrong tree just took on a whole new meaning.