When we think of dogs, our mind tends to conjure images of sweet, friendly, and loyal creatures who love their human unconditionally. Dogs are innocent and affectionate, you say, so there’s no way they would ever deceive you!
But if you’re a dog owner, chances are that your dog might be manipulating you to get what it wants!
A study by researcher Marianne Heberlein was done after she became curious about her own dogs’ behavior. Heberlein had a nighttime routine for her dogs, where she let them out to relieve themselves, and give them a treat when back indoors. One day, however, she noticed that one of her dogs would just pretend to pee in order to get the treat.
To confirm that her dog was trying to manipulate her, Heberlein and her research team from the University of Zurich conducted an experiment with 27 dogs. According to CBC:
The team paired each one with two human partners: a co-operative one who allowed the dogs to eat treats, and a competitive one who withheld the treats.
After the dogs learned which was which, the dogs then had the chance to lead them to one of three boxes: in one there was a sausage; in another was a less appetizing dog treat; and the last one was empty.
On the first day, the dogs led the co-operative partners to the sausage box more often than expected by chance and more often than the competitive partner. On the second day that increased in both cases.
By leading the competitive partner to the incorrect box, this meant that the dog had a chance to keep the delicious sausage for itself later on, when the experiment was repeated with a co-operative partner. Hence, the apparently deceptive behavior.
This just proves that dogs are really sentient beings and are capable of complex thinking!
So the next time you reach out for your treat, think again!
Thoughts on this? Let us know in the comments!