We know dogs are smart. But each new findings proves that they are smarter than what we previously thought. And they are intelligent enough to detect an intentional, or an unintentional, action.
An innovative study led by researchers in Germany compared the spontaneous reaction of dogs to both intentional and also unintended behavior, a core element of the Theory of Mind.
The research was conducted based on the reaction of the animals when food was withdrawn from them, both intentionally and unintentionally. The experiment was conducted on 51 dogs, 24 males, and 27 females, across various breeds.
The experiment was conducted with dogs and humans on either side of a transparent barricade. Dog treats were given to the canines through a gap in the barrier.
Study On Dogs Involved Three Different Experiment
In the unwilling group study, the reward was suddenly taken away by the human and placed before themselves.
The next group researcher carried the reward up to the barrier gap between the dog and the human and made it appear he was trying to pass the treat, but then let it fall to seem like it was accidental.
For the animals in the last and third group, the human attempted to pass the treat but could not as the barrier with the dog was blocked.
In all three experiments, were denied the treat for three different reasons, which stayed on the barrier’s human side.
The researchers realized that if the animals realized the intention of the humans, they approached the reward after waiting longer. The dogs in the experiment waited longer during the unwilling situation.
They also exhibited appeasing behavior as they lay or sat down. It was apparent that this was an act that was aimed at appeasing and calming the owner. The dogs also slowed down the movement of their tail to signal attentiveness and an attempt to make sense of a confusing situation.
This proved that the behavior of the animals was different depending on the action of the human, whether it was unintentional or intentional. It is evident that dogs can make out intentions in an action.
This experiment required more evidence to corroborate these findings, but it points to another dimension of the intelligence of dogs.