Humans and dogs have lived side-by-side for centuries, and new research has given us even more insight into the feelings of man’s best friend.
Researchers at Kyoto University’s department of psychology in Japan have worked out that dogs – as well as some species of monkey – have an almost human-like sense of morality.
During a series of experiments, they found that our canine chums were less likely to interact with anyone they perceive as acting rudely or unfairly.
The Japanese team set up three experiments and documented their findings in the journal Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews.
One experiment involved watching a dog watching two people (one of which was its owner) arrive with three balls each. One asked the other for their balls and, in some cases, that person obliged – handing over all their balls. Next, the person who had given up their balls asked for them back – again, sometimes the person obliged and other times they declined.
Following this exchange, the dogs were offered treats by both parties. And the researchers found that the dogs were less inclined to accept treats from the person they had observed as being selfish.
The researchers claim both the dogs and the capuchin monkeys that were also tested, made social judgements similar to those that a human might make.