Are Dogs Able to Figure Out Who Has the Best Treats?

Photo: ScienceFocus.com

Photo: ScienceFocus.com

Have you ever glanced over at your dog only to see that he has already been watching you? It may happen more often that we realize. A new study out of Argentina provides evidence that dogs carefully watch our interactions not only when we are interacting with them directly, but also our interactions with other people. The study determined that dogs are able to watch people's interactions with each other and use the information to figure out who had better treats in hand.

The researchers tested the dogs by having a man ask two women for their cornflakes. The two women had the same cornflakes, but the man acted as though one woman's cornflakes were delicious, and that the other woman's cornflakes were terrible. The dogs that chose to go up to one of the women tended to prefer the women who they perceived to have the better cornflakes.

Studies like this one confirm what dog lovers and dog professionals already suspected--that dogs are incredibly attuned to our every emotion, movement, and signal. The extent of their perception of our world is still being discovered, and this study is particularly interesting in that we can see dogs how dogs monitor our interactions with the people around us. It's why positive training is so effective. Dogs are constantly looking to understand what we want from them and are evolving constantly to cope in our domestic world. When you use a dog's cognitive ability to your advantage by reinforcing good behaviors and showing him what you want without the use of force or intimidation, the results can be incredible.

If you want to learn more about how your dog thinks and perceives the world, check out the dog games by our friends at Dognition.

Read the full analysis of the study here. 



6 Comments

  1. Diddy Dapper

    December 3rd, 2013 at 9:07 am

    Hi,
    the link you've posted within "dog games" isn't working for me ( going to web page not found ), you might want to check it?
    regards...

  2. Stephen Durnin

    December 4th, 2013 at 12:28 pm

    The link "dog games" works fine for me ;)

  3. Shelly

    December 4th, 2013 at 10:20 pm

    The link worked for me. Great post and interesting concept- I think dogs tend to be much smarter than we give them credit for.

  4. Felix's Mom

    December 5th, 2013 at 7:42 am

    Worked fine for me. May want to check your security settings, Diddy Dapper.

  5. Diana

    December 5th, 2013 at 9:04 pm

    Can you share the citation, please?

  6. admin1

    December 6th, 2013 at 7:59 am

    Hi Diana,

    Sorry about that. Click "Read the full analysis of the study" to be directed to the original source. Thanks!

    -The Positively Team



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