Dogs Snub People Who Were Mean To Their Owners – Kyoto University Experiment Reveals Canines Keep A Grudge

A dog is the most faithful and loyal of companions to their owners. So committed are they to the relationship, they will snub or shun the people who have been mean to their masters in the past. Researchers from Kyoto University discovered the amazing human-like attribute that dogs display, based on their behavior towards a person who hasn’t been cordial to their owners.

Japanese researchers discovered that dogs display an active dislike towards people who have behaved negatively towards their owners. These faithful companions have made their abhorrence quite apparent by refusing their favorite treats from the hands of these people, reported The Japan Times.

To prove their hypothesis, the group, led by Kazuo Fujita, a professor at Kyoto University, conducted an experiment involving dogs, their owners, and two strangers. To ensure there was reliable and consistent data, the scientists decide to repeat the experiment with 54 dogs aged between 7 months and 14 years. The dogs were divided into three equal groups.

The experiment, a simulated every day scenario, was fairly simple. In one of the trials, the dog’s owner pretended to have trouble opening the lid of a box. He then approached one of the two strangers to assist him, who rudely refused to help and looked away. In the second group, the stranger would gladly extend his assistance and open the lid. In the third group the dog’s owner would open the box without seeking any assistance from the strangers. In all the scenarios, there was a second stranger who wasn’t directly involved, but was a neutral spectator. The dogs were given a front-row access to the skit.

Dogs Don't Like People Who Have Been Mean To Their Owners

As expected, majority or 11 out of the 18 canines, refused to accept food from the stranger who was rude to their owners. Interestingly, there was a mixed response to the second stranger who was neutral, but the dogs appeared to shun the strangers who didn’t help. What’s fascinating about the study, was dogs who witnessed their owners being snubbed by one of the stranger, were more than likely to accept a treat from the neutral stranger, shared Fujita.

“We discovered for the first time that dogs make social and emotional evaluations of people regardless of their direct interest. This ability is one of key factors in building a highly collaborative society and this study shows that dogs share that ability with humans.”

Dogs have been known to put their owner’s safety before their own. But this is the first time, their behavior has been seen aligning with that of their owners, despite no perceivable self-interest. Now that dogs have reiterated their unflinching support, the researchers are keen to conduct the same experiment on cats to judge their reactions and loyalty.

[Image Credit | Roberto A Sanchez, Kazuhiro Nogi / Getty Images]