Dogs Lie To Their Owners To Get What They Want, Says New Study

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can dogs lie
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Fluffy's been playing you this WHOLE time.

I thought that dogs were just lovable, loyal, and kind of dumb (in a good way, of course). I grew up with cats and I know that they have their witchy ways about them to get what they want.

But can dogs lie? Are sweet, innocent dogs getting crafty without us even catching on? They must be way more intelligent than we all thought. 

A recent study in Animal Cognition says that dogs are capable of lying to us. It was researchers from Switzerland who wanted to find out if dogs lie to humans in order to get what they want. That’s not the first thing on my mind, but hey, I’m glad someone out there was interested enough to find out.

The study was made up of 27 dogs of various breeds who were between the ages of 1.5 and 14 years old. The researchers trained the dogs to distinguish between two different women.

One woman was named "cooperative" as she would readily give the dogs a treat. The other woman was named "competitive" as she would often act like she was going to give a treat, but would then put it in her pocket. It turns out that the dogs preferred the cooperative woman, obviously.

The dogs were then taught how to lead a human to food. Three boxes were placed on the floor and the dogs watched as researchers put a sausage or a biscuit into one of the boxes and closed it.

When the dogs were asked to “show me the food,” they led their human to the correct box. The cooperative woman gave them the treat afterward while the competitive woman kept it.

"Comparing the dogs' behavior in the presence of the cooperative and the competitive partner, we found an interaction between test day and partner's role in leading them to the food box containing the preferred food," the authors of the study said. "On both test days, the dogs were more likely to lead the cooperative partner than the competitive one to the box containing the preferred food, and this effect was stronger on the second than on the first test day."

The dogs liked the sausages better than the biscuits, and because of this, they started to lead the competitive woman to the box with the biscuit. This way, the cooperative woman would be led to the box with the sausage; thus, the dogs got to eat their favorite snack.

So, can dogs lie? Based on this study, it appears they do lie to get what they want.

This showed the researchers that dogs do in fact understand how their actions affect the behaviors of other people. Why are dogs so trainable? Well, this could explain it. They are likely to do what is in their best interest.

So, should you always assume that your dog is lying to you now? No, I wouldn’t go that far. However, just be careful with how many treats you give out because something fishy could be going on.

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