Dogs Are Able to Trick Us In Order To Get What They Want

Brilliance | Dec. 12, 2017

Dogs seem so serendipitously irresistible. Turns out, our furry friends know exactly which buttons to push in order to get what they want—even if they have to deceive you to get it. Man's best friend, huh? Maybe that's only what they want you to think...

Why are we covering this?

I'm Not That Innocent

Your furry loyal companion may be pulling your leg. According to a study published in Animal Cognition in March 2017, dogs are capable of deception, and may use it to get what they want. Deception was described in this study as "the use of false signals to modify the behaviour of the receiver." Who's the loyal companion now?

In the study conducted by University of Zurich researchers, two people interacted with the dogs. One person was cooperative and always gave the dogs food, and the other person was competitive and always kept the food to themselves. The dog then had to lead the humans to one of three boxes—one contained a juicy sausage, one a dry doggie treat, and one that has completely empty. The researchers observed that the dogs led the cooperative person to the sausage box and led the competitive person to the empty box more often than would be expected by chance. When pup wants a sausage, pup is going to get that sausage.

Demystifying The Dog

It goes without saying that humans can not (yet?) speak fluent dog. But that's the say we haven't learned a lot of fascinating and oftentime surprising things about why they are the way they are. For instance, using baby talk to communicate with your pet is a real thing, not just a borderline-annoying habit. But it seems it only works on puppies, not older dogs. And you probably think that adorable guilty face is your pooch telling you he's sorry. Not the cause—we now know that face means he's scared. Don't worry, you can calm him back down with a little reggae music.

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