Cookie use on MRCVSonline
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive all cookies.
If you would like to forward this story on to a friend, simply fill in the form below and click send.

Your friend's email:
Your email:
Your name:
 
 
Send Cancel

Dogs avoid people who snub their owners
Dachshund and owner
The study suggests that dogs can read social situations and avoid those who act negatively towards their owners.
Social eavesdropping may not be an ability unique to primates

It's well known that dogs are highly intelligent beings that can respond to commands, sniff-out criminal evidence and even diagnose medical conditions. But now, new research has shown that they might even be able understand simple interactions between people.

In a recent experiment, Japanese researchers found that dogs tended to avoid people if they acted negatively towards their owners. This suggests that dogs are able to read social situations - an ability known as 'social eavesdropping'.

The experiment was designed to see if dogs can evaluate humans interacting with one another over an object.

The results revealed that dogs avoided taking food from a person who behaved negatively towards their owner, which in this case meant ignoring them.

In the experiment, the dog's owner tried to open a container to get a junk object that was inside, then requested help from an actor sitting next to him, while the dog watched the interaction.

In the helper condition, the actor held the container stable to help the owner open it.  In the non-helper condition, the actor turned away and refused to help. A neutral person sat on the other side of the owner throughout these interactions.

After the instruction, both the actor and the neutral person offered a piece of food to the dog. The study found that dogs chose food randomly in the helper and control conditions, but were biased against the actor in the non-helper conditions.

The scientists say that the dogs' avoidance of someone who behaved negatively towards the owner suggests that social eavesdropping may be shared with a non-primate species.

The study, Dogs avoid people who behave negatively to their owner: third-party affective evaluation, was published in Animal Behaviour.

Become a member or log in to add this story to your CPD history

Fashion house Prada to stop using fur from 2020

News Story 1
 Italian fashion house Prada has become the latest clothing retailer to announce that it will no longer be using animal fur in its products.

In a press release, the Group said the new policy will commence from the Group’s Spring/Summer 2020 collection. The current inventory will be sold until quantities are exhausted.

Prada said the move comes following ‘positive dialogue’ with the Fur Free Alliance, the Humane Society of the United States and LAV, a European animal rights organisation. 

Click here for more...
News Shorts
BVA Scottish Branch welcomes new president

Moray vet Kathleen Robertson has been named president of the BVA’s Scottish Branch. She took over the role from Melissa Donald at the association’s annual general meeting on Tuesday (21 May).

A University of Glasgow graduate, Kathleen has held diverse positions spanning clinical practice, teaching, inspection and consultancy work. She sits on the Scottish Antimicrobial Stewardship Group, the Livestock Health Scotland Board and the Veterinary Delivery Landscape project. She is also an Honorary Secretary of the Society of Practising Veterinary Surgeons.