An Alert Dog May Just Counsel You Better than a Human?

the beautiful, sexy young woman stands with rough dog.

Beautiful young woman stands with intimidating black dog on black background.

Staying safe and alert in these uncertain times is something most of our readers want. But with Chicago’s gun laws that disarm the law abiding, and give armed criminals free reign, we have few avenues left to protect ourselves from an active threat. But what about discovering and defending against a passive threat? What about the shady door to door salesman for example? How does one know the intentions of a stranger?

We all know that one of the qualities dogs are known for is their faithfulness. But did you know that dogs, just like how they spotted the Terminators in the famous Arnold Schwarzenegger movie, can also help us spot bad people just by their demeanor alone? In fact, they can spot jerks even better than human babies!

We already know how dogs act in front of their masters and owners. They love to be around their owners and indicate their love and affection with them by wagging their tails and jumping over their laps. In the US dogs are treated as family members and are used for more purposes than they are used for in other parts of the world.

Newspapers, TV shows and online websites are full of stories of dogs saving their owners from various types of dangers and unwanted situations. It is often said that mental abilities of a dog are quite the same as the mental abilities of a 2-3 years old human baby. However, the recent researches and studies have shown something different about dogs. Dogs Learn Like Humans The studies were conducted to check how well the dogs learn about humans, human characters and the people they are living around.

As we know we tend to trust everyone when we are young but as we age we get to realize the realities of the world around us and act in a more mature and intelligent manner. We have lists of people in our minds. We have a list of people that we trust and a list of people that we don’t trust. The surprising thing proved in the studies we are about to mention below is that dogs have the same lists in their minds too. In fact, they are quicker at making these lists.


 

The Research And Study

the beautiful  young woman sit with dog on black background

Beautiful young, brunette woman sits with chained attack dog on black background.

Akiko Takaoka from Kyoto University in Japan conducted a series of studies with a team in order to find out the behaviors of dogs towards trustworthy and untrustworthy people. His study also became a part of the animal Cognition journal. This particular study concluded that dogs will only trust the person who has acted with trust in front of them.

People who have shown any signs of being untrustworthy are not in the list of trustworthy people of dogs. 24 dogs took part in the study conducted by Akiko Takaoka. As the study started the researchers involved in the studies pointed towards 2 containers out of which 1 container had food underneath it and the other did not. In the first stage the researchers pointed towards the containers with foods in them and when dogs followed their instructions they found food in the containers.

In the second stage the same researchers pointed towards the empty containers. When dogs went to the containers there was nothing in them. This broke the trust of the researchers for the dogs and prepared the study for the final stage. In the final stage the dogs were shown the containers again where one of the containers had food and the other did not.

When dogs ran the researchers pointed towards the right containers i.e. the containers that had food in them. This time the dogs used their experience and did not go in the direction the researchers pointed in. Only 8% of the dogs relied on the researcher and went to the container that he pointed to but the rest did not follow the instructions of the researchers that had turned into untrustworthy people for them.


 

The Research And Study – Part 2

Now, it had become important to realize through the study that dogs were only discrediting the person that was really untrustworthy. The researchers wanted to make sure that dogs were not generalizing their learning and thinking that every researcher or person is untrustworthy based on their experiences.

Check out the Dog Behavior Video

As suggested in the above video, researchers proved that dogs were only not trusting the person who showed them the wrong direction, the study was conducted again – in a different manner this time. This time there were 26 dogs that took part in the experiment. In this particular study the researchers pointed in the direction of the right container in the first stage. The dogs went into the direction they were pointed to and found food under the opaque containers.

Now the second stage arrived and the researchers showed dogs the containers with food and without food. However, when dogs started running towards the containers the researchers pointed in the direction of the containers that did not have food, thus losing their trust in the eyes of the dogs. The final stage of the experiment was different from the previous study though. In the final stage all the researchers that were used in the first two phases of the study were changed and new were brought in.

These were new faces for the dogs. These new researchers showed the containers to the dogs i.e. one containing food and other not having any food. As the dogs ran towards the containers the researchers pointed in the direction of the containers that had food underneath them. As soon as the dogs saw the fingers they went to the containers they were pointed to go to. They found food there and were happy.

The point of changing the researchers in the final stage was to prove that if the dogs were generalizing their experience and learning they would have showed unreliability towards the researcher in the final stage by not going in the direction they were pointing to. However, the results were different.

The new researchers were new faces for the dogs so they were starting afresh. They relied on the new instructors and went in the direction these new instructors pointed to. Takaoka talked about her study in an interview she gave to BBC. She said that dogs learn from their experiences faster than humans do.

She said that dogs do not become parts of our lives and start trusting everyone they meet. They are in fact being friendly with everyone on their first meeting but at the same time they are learning with time as to who to trust and who not to. After dogs have learned that some person is not trustworthy they would interact with that person in a different manner than they would with a person they trust. Lastly, she said that the social intelligence in dogs is much better than that of humans.


 

A Similar Study On Human Children

A similar study to prove the similar point however in the case of human children was conducted by Kimberly Vanderbilt in San Diego. In this study they used children of 3, 4 and 5 years of age. They conducted a series of experiments to see how these children would behave when they are made to interact with trustworthy and untrustworthy persons. The results were quite shocking in a way.

In the first phase of the study it was found out that children who were 3 years of age did not learn well from their experience. Even after they had been shown that a particular person was not trustworthy, these 3-year olds showed their level of trust on the untrustworthy and trustworthy person in the same way. When the same experiment was conducted with 4-year olds they showed signs of skepticism in trusting the words of the person who from their experience had been proved untrustworthy but they ended up trusting that person again.

The results were quite different when conducted with children of 5 years of age. 5-year olds in this study showed complete distrust towards the person who had been proved untrustworthy in front of them. They listened to the advice given to them by the trustworthy person in the experiment. Final Words First, this study shows that if you are misleading your dog you are really creating problems for yourself in the future because at the time when you need it your dog will not listen to you.

Secondly, it is quite a surprise that we often compare dogs with 2 to 3-year old human children based on their mental intelligence even though the study above proves that these dogs were clearly behaving with intelligence that of a 5-year old human child. There you have it, a dog can save your day, even though you were on the alert.

More:

Can Dogs Sense Psychopaths?

Dogs as Judges of Character – Animal Behavior Associates, Inc.

Dogs can sense whether a person is lying to them or telling the truth?