While we’d all like to believe that our dogs would stand up for us if we were physically attacked by somebody, new research shows that our dogs will at least remember anybody who has been mean to us – so much so that they’ll refuse to take treats from the “mean” person!
In a new study in Neuroscience and Biobehavioural Reviews, researchers had dog owners act out a scene while their dog watched. The dog owners would pretend to struggle with opening a container, then ask for help from a pair of researchers.
One of the researchers in the pair was always neutral, neither offering to help nor refusing to help. The other researcher either helped or adamantly refused.
After each scenario, the dogs would accept treats from the helpful and neutral researchers, but refused to take treats from the “mean” people who had refused to help their owners. This would seem to indicate that dogs remember who is isn’t nice and they hold it against them.
So the next time your dog decides they don’t like somebody, it might be worth listening to them! Your best friend is just looking out for you.