A new study performed by Kyoto University shows that dogs don't like people who are mean to their owners.
Three groups of 18 dogs were tested in a roleplaying scenario where the owner needed help opening a box. In each group, the owner and dog were accompanied in a room by two other people. In the first group, one of the strangers helped the owner open the box, while the second stranger passively did nothing; in the second group, one of the strangers actively refused to help, while the second stranger remained neutral and did nothing. In the control group, both strangers did nothing.
After witnessing the interaction, the dogs were then offered food from both strangers. The loyal companions were more likely to refuse food from the strangers who actively didn't help their owner. There was no notable difference in acceptance of food between neutral and helpful strangers.
"We discovered for the first time that dogs make social and emotional evaluations of people regardless of their direct interest," said Kazuo Fujita, a professor of comparative cognition at Kyoto University.
Dogs not accepting food is a big deal, because dogs love food. The study shows that the canines are capable of working and thinking collaboratively.
The study will be published in the scientific journal Animal Behaviour.
[h/t: Yahoo! News]