This article exists as part of the online archive for HuffPost Canada, which closed in 2021.

Dogs Have A Good Sense Of Judgment, Researchers Confirm

This explains why they don't like certain people.

Santa Claus isn't the only one who knows if you've been bad or good — your dog has a sense of it, too!

According to a new study in Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, dogs really do have a good sense of character.

As part of an experiment, dog owners were asked to try to open a container and fail, then ask a researcher for help. The researchers then either stood passively by the tin, helped the dog owner, or refused to help, all while offering the dog a treat.

Getty Images/iStockphoto

The researchers then noted that the dogs were more likely to take the treat from the passive or helpful researchers, but not from the researchers who refused to help.

"Chances are that if these animals can detect cooperative tendencies in human actors, they also can in their fellow primates," lead researcher James Anderson told New Scientist.

The study, which also looked at monkeys, noted that dogs don't always act out of self-interest, opting instead to make social evaluations in the same way as humans.

bowie15 via Getty Images

"In humans, there may be this basic sensitivity towards antisocial behaviour in others. Then through growing up, inculturation and teaching, it develops into a full-blown sense of morality," Anderson continued. "I don't think you can conclude that it makes the monkeys moral beings, but 'image scoring,' as reputation building is sometimes called, provides an important key mechanism."

Suggest a correction
This article exists as part of the online archive for HuffPost Canada. Certain site features have been disabled. If you have questions or concerns, please check our FAQ or contact