Looks like man’s best friend won’t be friends with you if you’re mean to its owner.
A new study discovered just how loyal dogs are to their owners, and it involves one of their favorite things: food.
Japanese researchers separated dogs into three groups: one where the owner asks for help from two strangers and is refused, one where the owner asks for help from two strangers and receives it from one, and a third where the strangers neither helped nor refused to help.
The strangers accompanying the owner then offered the dog food, and according to researchers, the dogs were more likely to ignore the stranger who denied him help and take food from the neutral person. The dogs didn’t distinguish between the strangers in the other scenarios.
“We discovered for the first time that dogs make social and emotional evaluations of people regardless of their direct interest,” lead researcher Kazuo Fujita told the press.
Dogs ability to not always act out of immediate self interest is evidence of their cooperative social nature, Fujita said.
“There is a similar study that showed tufted capuchins have this ability, but there is no evidence that chimpanzees demonstrate a preference unless there is a direct benefit to them,” he said.