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Science Shows Dogs Deceive Owners to Get Treats

Science By
A brown and white Parson's Terrier sits at a dinner table with an empty plate visible in front of it
A brown and white Parson’s Terrier sits at a dinner table with an empty plate visible in front of it

 

When it comes to treats, dogs are willing to roll over their human owners.

A study by Marianne Heberlein of the Department of Evolutionary Biology and Experimental Studies at the University of Zürich did show man’s best friend can be nature’s greatest hucksters.

In the experiment, dogs were trained to take a person to a box that contained food, at which point the dog was supposed to get a treat from the box. Except one of the two people commanding the dog wouldn’t give a reward. Quickly, dogs learned to bring that person to a box that was empty, saving the box with food for someone who would share it.

Heberlein also reported that dogs were found to engage in deceptive practices with other canines, too. In one example, dogs were observed staring out a window purely to lure over another dog, at which point they could take their victim’s sleep spot.

To read more about the study at Smithsonian.com (and discover more deceitful dog behavior), click here. To read the full study at Animal Cognition, click here.

RealClearLife