Proof that dogs don’t like people who are mean to their owners 41



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For years we’ve had a feeling this was true but now it’s been backed up by science. Have you ever had a fight with your partner, only for the dog to get aggressive towards them, almost in defence? Or how about when someone you don’t like seeing you at the dog park and your dog goes crazy barking at them? It’s not just you – dogs do turn their noses up at people who are mean to their masters.

A new study published in the Animal Behaviour journal has found that dogs offered food from people who had been nasty to their owners were less likely to take it.

One of the researchers from Kyoto University, Kazuo Fujita, who conducted the study said, “We discovered for the first time that dogs make social and emotional evaluations of people regardless of their direct interest.

“This ability is one of key factors in building a highly collaborative society, and this study shows that dogs share that ability with humans”, she told AFP.

The experiment involved three groups of 18 dogs who were there with their owner who needed help to open a box. In all groups the owner of the dog was joined by two complete strangers. In the first group, the owner walked into the room and asked one of the strangers for help in opening the box, and this unfamiliar person actively refused, reports IFLScience.

In the second group, the owner asked for help from a stranger and received it. In the third group, both strangers did nothing when the owner asked for help. After letting the dogs watch the situations play out, the two strangers then offered the dog some food. The dogs in the first situation (in which their owners were refused help), were far more likely to ignore the mean stranger and accept food from the neutral person in the room.

For the other two role play scenarios, there was no definitive response for who the dog took snacks from. If the dogs were acting purely out of self-interest, say the researchers, there would have been no significant difference in who the dogs preferred to take food from, but this wasn’t the case – the dogs care. This behaviour is quite rare in the rest of the animal kingdom, and in humans under three.

So next time you’re not treated well by someone, set your dog on them. Only kidding! Just use them for solace in knowing they really do care about you and will take your side.


Tell us, when has your dog protected you?

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  1. had a great cat :felix: attacked a guy who came to the door looking for me and my girlfriend at the time said i didnt live there and owed her money but the cat still went the guy a 3 month old kitten Best cat ever

  2. My dog is faithful but not very protective towards me. If someone yells at me or another dog comes at us she will jump up into my arms for me to protect her.
    But as kuds growing up we always had kelpies and no one would dare come at us while they were at our side. Same with my kids. We had kelpie cross breeds when they were growing up and I always knew the kids were safe if the dog was with them.

  3. My dog is extremely protective of me whenever I am laying on the bed. Even growls and barks at my husband until he sits or lays beside me.

  4. The very first time I met hubby on the beach,he didn’t have his glasses on and stood on my dogs tail,so she turned and nipped him on the ankle. Then as he started courting me,she would jump up between us on the sofa and growl if his hands went wandering. They ended up best of pals though,once she had put him through the wringer!

  5. I’ve had a few instances of pet protection before, but I think that the animals pick up on the vibes the person is giving out. Way back when I was 12, I had pneumonia and in those days, the doctor would visit. He was examining me and my cat jumped up on the bed, ran over and bit him on the hand. He got angry and yelled at my mother to remove ‘this filthy animal from the sick room.’ My mum was very apologetic, but as soon as he left, Tammy was back by my side, and hardly left until I was better. A few years later this same doctor was accused of sexually molesting some girls who I knew, aged between 16 and 18.
    Another time I was down the beach with my bullterrier, Dallas. I was reading, and he started growling, so I looked up to see this disgusting guy masturbating and staring at me. Of course, no-one was close by, and I became alarmed, so I told him to go away. He started to come towards me and the dog took off after him….I’ve never seen anyone move so fast in my life. Looking at it now, it must have seemed funny to the people who were further up the beach, this naked guy running along the beach screaming. I had called Dallas off, but this guy still kept running…..good luck getting back to his car, I buried his clothes before I left! Another time I had a sleep-over for my then 16 year old daughter, and we lived over the road from the beach and a park. My daughter and her friends were in the park with our dog, another bully cross, when suddenly she started growling and getting between the girls and this weird guy in a trench coat. The girls brought her back home because of her behaviour, and I made them stay because I was suss about someone getting around in a trench coat when it was 28 degrees. A half hour later a police car was around, looking for a person who had been exposing themselves to children in the park.

    2 REPLY
    • Hi Anne and Gail. Thanks for the comments, and yes, the animals were amazing, I’ve been very lucky there. Tammy cat went on to live till 16, the bully-crosses not as long, unfortunately, but full, long lives, all the same. My life has been basically boring and normal, with the occasional drama thrown in, and a few highlights, along with some bad stuff. I thought everyone had the same. I believe I have someone looking out for me, and guiding me thru life. I don’t consider that my life has ever really been difficult. I’ve come thru some health dramas, my ex-husband and I are Facebook friends, my kids are doing well with their lives, and I have travelled all over the world… stop Canada and Alaska in September. Mind you, when I was doing my nursing training at Princess Alexandra, I had a full urinal bottle hurled at me when I came thru the door, by a dear old man who thought I was the Sister, and on another occasion was punched in the boobs by an alcoholic with the DT’s, and on another occasion, on night duty, we had to lock all the ward doors because some nut case from Psych got away armed with a knife……the police eventually rounded him up, but it was fairly scary, and I was just praying that we didn’t have a cardiac arrest to handle with just the two of us, and no doctors to work the crash cart. Sorry, do waffle sometimes.

  6. A neighbour was telling me about an altercation she had had with another neighbour and got loud and aggressive sounding as she described it all. (she was standing the other side of our paddock fence). Suddenly my two Alpaccas ran in between us and started making noises at her. She realised they were protecting me from her straight away.

  7. Yes,years ago while walking through a bit of scrub along the waterfront a bloke jumped out in front of me wearing nothing but a red hat,he was jumping up and down,my dog started going crazy,not so much in protection mode, I think it was more the fact the blokes crown jewels were in Choppers Line Of Vision,I yelled at the bloke if I unhook the lead you will be singing soprano within seconds…he went back in the scrub…….Police got him.

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