For years, we've contemplated just how intuitive our pets are when it comes to sensing human emotions. Now a recent study by Kyoto University confirms what we've suspected all along.
Dogs will ignore people who are rude to their owners.
Researchers conducted a series of experiments with three groups of 18 dogs to gauge what their reaction would be to seeing their owners being mistreated/snubbed by strangers.
Each pet owner asked two strangers to help them open a box with varying results. Those who were in the first group were rejected outright, while the second group received assistance. In the last group, the strangers said/did nothing.
The strangers were then instructed to try and feed the dogs food. According to the study, "For the dogs in the first situation (in which their owners were refused help), they were far more likely to ignore the mean stranger and accept food from the neutral person in the room."
Researcher Kazuo Fujita went on to say that "We discovered for the first time that dogs make social and emotional evaluations of people regardless of their direct interest. This ability is one key factor in building a highly collaborative society, and this study shows that dogs share that ability with humans."
So basically, it pays to be paw-lite, people. (Sorry, had to.)