Did You Know That Dogs Know When People Are Lying?

This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, please read our disclosure policy here

They are now saying that dogs can sense when a person is lying, and I’m not remotely surprised!

Just from hanging out with dogs on the daily, we can tell that dogs instinctively pick up on things that maybe us humans might miss.

Like, have you ever had a dog that just doesn’t like someone who you bring into the house? And then, maybe a little time goes by, and that person turns out to be a bit of a douche.

Dogs can tell before we do that someone is no good!

Or (and, you can call me crazy if you want) you sense a presence in your house, and then your dog starts barking at the empty room?

Yeah, kinda creepy, but dogs can sense things, man!

Researchers at the University of Vienna are now saying that (in some cases) dogs are able to sense when people are lying to them.

They tested dogs, because they are a unique species, in that they have cohabitated with humans for 14K years.

The researchers tested 260 dogs, and as part of this test, the pups had to listen to “advice” from people with whom they were not familiar (known in the experiment as the “communicator”).

The humans would put their hand on one of two covered bowls, and suggest that there were doggie treats in one specific bowl.

Royal Society Publishing

The person would say, “Look, this is good.” If the dog took the advice correctly, they would get the treat.

The point of this exercise was to gain trust between the “communicator” and the doggie subject.

Once they became friends (the dog trusted the human), the researchers switched up the experiment.

A person the dog didn’t know would then come in and transfer the treat from one bowl to the other. Sometimes their new friend was present, and sometimes they weren’t.

Royal Society Publishing

Whether the “communicator” had been present or not, they would point to the ORIGINAL bowl, and tell the dog that the treat was in the first bowl.

You would think that the dog would choose to follow the advice of the communicator, whether the communicator had been present when the switch was made or not.

But, this wasn’t the case in most instances.

If the dog knew the communicator had been present to see the switch made, it somehow knew that the communicator was lying about the new location of the treat.

About 2/3 of the time, the dog would go to the bowl that contained the treat, and ignore the advice of the human communicator.

This study reminds us that dogs are watching us closely, are picking up on our social signals, and are learning from us constantly even outside of formal training contexts.

Monique Udell, Oregon State University

So, basically, don’t lie to your dog. They may realize you’re fibbing, and not trust you. *Gasp*

BTW, for this study, it turns out the terrier breed was more apt to trust the liars, those trusting little pooches.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *