Who is the most honest person in your life? Your dog is, right? He is the best dog any person could ever want and tells you nothing but the truth. Probably you two have been living a lie all this time but he doesn’t want you to realize it.
A recently published research has exposed the sneaky and manipulative nature of your best friend, whether the deception is aimed at getting a meaty treat or a tummy rub. Your dog uses “tactical deception” to get what he wants.
Marianne Heberlein conducted the study which was published in the journal Animal Cognition. She got inspired after she observed one of her dogs pretend to gaze at something interesting in the garden, tricking her companion to leave his sleeping spot.
She said that the frequency of this occurrence is so high but it receives limited attention from the researchers.
Your dog can lie to you
Sure, there have been times you thought your pup was a furry little liar. How did that mysterious hole get into your favorite blouse? And that stain on the counter which your dog hasn’t heard anything about? But looking at his face, can your dog lie to you?
It is so unfortunate that there is a ravaging language barrier between humans and dogs, leaving us with lots of questions that go unanswered.
Our only hope for the answers is through research studies done by the likes of Marianne Heberlein.
According to Heberlein, dogs can deceive other dogs and thus she developed the urge to know whether they can also lie to humans. She and her colleagues paired up the canine companions with some humans, familiar and unfamiliar with each other. Some of the companions gave them treats while others kept them to themselves.
The dogs were taught the “cooperative” person and the “competitive” one after which they were led to individually to one of three boxes that contained either a delicious sausage, a dry dog biscuit, or nothing at all. The trial was made several times and then the dogs were placed in charge, leading their owners to a box and allowed to eat its contents.
The dogs learnt at a fast pace. By day two, they had figured out that they can deliberately mislead the competitive owner to the empty box so as to have a chance to eat the tasty treat.
What surprised the researchers most is how fast the sneaky hounds worked out the behavior that benefited them the most. Some of the dogs took the competitive person to the empty box on the first go.
The study conclusion was that a dog can adjust its behavior accordingly, depending on the person they are dealing with.
This conclusion is best supported by one study which claims that dogs read human behavior well enough to take advantage of us. This ability enables them to anticipate our behavior to the extent they are able to deceive us. At least, that’s what they think.