PLOS ONE is an Open Access Journal that accepts scientifically rigorous research and publishes it for everyone to see!
An article published in PLOS ONE on October 18, 2017, showed that dogs can tell the difference between a selfish person and a generous one – and prefer the generous person! For the experiment, the generous person would signal to the dog that food was available when the dog came over, the person allowed the dog to eat. The selfish person also indicated to the dog that food was available, but would eat the food before the dog could!
When given a choice later, the dogs (adults both family and shelter dogs) would pick the generous person! Puppies were also tested but did not show a preference for either person, which means they have not yet learned to discriminate between personalities of humans. Shelter dogs may have either limited contact with people or bad experiences with people. In other studies, shelter dogs have exhibited different behavior toward people than family dogs.
Which is not surprising since the experiences shelter dogs have had were probably not all positive, and they have learned not to trust people. The authors concluded that dogs learn how to discriminate between people as they age – it is not an innate behavior. They also concluded that the more time dogs spend with people (in terms of years), the better they are at differentiating personalities. Dogs are good judges of character. Watch your dog when introduced to a new person, how they react is an indicator of that person’s personality!
Feature Image Source: Pixabay