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According to Scientists, Dogs Know How to Cheat

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According to Scientists, Dogs Know How to Cheat
Last update: 16 July, 2018

Surely, you will notice that your dog has manipulated you more than once? If he has not done so, you probably think that it is possible. Through an experiment, scientists have verified what you already know: our dogs know how to cheat.

Dogs and ‘tactical deception’

By living together for so many centuries, it seems that humans have transferred some tricks to our pets.

As a result, our beloved, intelligent and observant four-legged friends have developed what researchers define as, “tactical deception.”

The experiment was carried out by a team headed by Marianne TE Heberlein, based at the Department of Evolutionary Biology, University of Zurich. It showed that dogs do know how to cheat to get food. Moreover, it was published in the journal, Animal Cognition.

In case you had any doubt, a scientific study now shows that dogs know how to cheat. The researchers concluded that our faithful friends manage stealth and deception to perfection.

Learn more about the study that proves it: dogs know how to cheat

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To reach this conclusion, scientists worked with a group of 27 dogs of both sexes and of different breeds and ages. Each animal had to interact with three humans:

  • The owner, who always cooperated with his dog.
  • An unknown person, who in all cases provided him with food hidden in a container.
  • Another unknown person, who kept the food for himself and was considered by the dog to be a “competitor.”

For his part, the dog had the option of taking each person to three potential food sources, that were kept in three boxes:

  • The first contained a meal the dog liked.
  • In the second, there was food towards which the dog felt indifferent.
  • The third was empty.

How the dogs reacted to the experiment

Are you already imagining what our intelligent and manipulative dog friends did in this situation?

Well, they immediately realized what was going on!

  • When the “collaborator” accompanied them, the dogs almost always took him to the box that contained his favorite food.
  • If the “competitor” joined them, most of the time, the dogs would guide him to the empty box. Since they knew that their respective owners would not deny them food.

In case you had any doubts, the study found that dogs can manipulate us

The researchers concluded that dogs distinguish between “cooperative” humans and “competitors.” Dogs change their behavior based upon this difference.

So, dogs do use “tactical deception” in a premeditated and learned way, to allow them to get what they want. In this case, it was their preferred meal.

Heberlein said that, through the experiment, researchers were able to clearly understand the dogs and were able to observe their cognitive abilities and flexibility.  This helps dogs to live together with humans.

In addition to being our faithful friends, it is proven that dogs know how to use stealth and deception in order to get what they want.

Other information about a dog’s intelligence and sensibility

The truth is, that recent research has scientifically shown what many of us who share our lives with dogs, already knew and suspected.

So, through different experiments, it has been found that:

  • Dogs usually understand not only what we tell them, but also how we tell them. To process our words, dogs use the left hemisphere of their brain. And to interpret the tone, they use the right. Thus, they relate words with objects and with the intonation in our voice.
  • They have the intelligence of a two-year-old child.
  • Like us, they can be optimistic or pessimistic. In addition, they become depressed and also jealous.
  • They have the sensitivity of children.

And what can you tell from how smart and sensitive your dog is?



This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.