Nature & Environment
Dogs are able to tell when someone is lying
By T.K. Randall
July 28, 2021 · 4 comments
It's harder than you might think to fool a dog. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 2.0 Thomas Vaclavek
A new study has indicated that our canine companions can often tell whether or not someone is telling the truth.
The research, which was carried out by scientists at the University of Vienna, aimed to determine whether dogs are capable of picking up on the same subtle clues and indicators that humans typically use when deciding whether or not another person is being truthful.
For the experiment, they recruited 260 dogs of various breeds.
The dogs were each taught to follow the advice of an unfamiliar human who would pick one of two bowls which had a treat hidden underneath it.
If the dogs followed the advice, they would receive the treat.
To mix things up, however, the dogs were then allowed to observe the treat being switched to a different bowl - sometimes with a second human watching and sometimes with nobody watching.
Afterwards, if the person pointing out the location of the treat had not been present during the switch-up and pointed to the wrong bowl, the dogs seemed to be aware that the treat wasn't there and refused to follow their advice.
Even more interesting was the fact that the dogs also refused to follow the wrong advice of the human who had been present during the switch-up - indicating that they knew that they were being lied to.
As it turns out, therefore, dogs are not as easily fooled as you might think.
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