Who hasn’t caved in to a set of adorable doe eyes begging for a snack or pleading to avoid trouble when everybody in the room knows man’s best friend is up to no good? Dogs couldn’t possibly know how to turn on a little bit of charm to get what they want, right? It must be all a figment of our imagination and a byproduct of our affection toward canines.
According to new research, your dog absolutely knows how to lie to get what he wants from you. And he likely knows exactly when to do it. A group of Swiss scientists believes all it takes is a couple of sausages to prove that dogs are fully capable of some self-serving deception. In 2017, their work was published in Animal Cognition after training and studying 27 dogs of different breeds between a year and a half and 14-years old.
Researchers observed this with a pretty straightforward experiment of introducing the group of dogs to two separate people — one whose job it was to give them a treat and another who wouldn’t be giving them a snack at all. In fact, the second person’s job wasn’t just to withhold sharing treats with the dogs, but they would take one for themselves right in front of each dog, making it known that sausages were available but not to be enjoyed by canines. Ironically enough, it’s fair to assume dogs actually break the entire human race into these two categories when they watch us pull out a potential treat.