Dogs shun people unkind to their owners: Study

Tokyo, (IANS/EFE) A team of Japanese scientists have discovered that dogs tend to shun people who are unfriendly or unkind towards their owners, Japanese economic daily Nikkei reported on Friday.

The group, led by Kazuo Fujita, a professor at Kyoto University, conducted an experiment involving dogs, their owners and two strangers.

The scientists used 54 dogs aged between seven months and 14 years who they divided into three groups of 18 each.

In one of the trials, the dog’s owner pretended to have trouble opening the lid of a box.

He then asked one of the other two people for help. This person refused to do so and looked away.

After this scene was played out, the two unfamiliar people offered food to the dog.

Eleven out of the 18 canines refused to take the food.

This exercise was done with each of the dogs four times.

Fujita explained that the results show that dogs react to people’s behaviour towards their owners and that the study could contribute to gaining an understanding into dogs’ behaviour, the newspaper said.

In the second experiment, the person who was asked for help took the box to open the lid.

However, the team explained that it was not possible to confirm whether the dogs preferred the person who cooperated or not.

In the third group, none of the people interacted.

The team, that now wants to conduct the experiment with cats, told Nikkei that monkeys too exhibit similar behaviour.

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