Do you ever feel like your dog is judgingly looking at you when you make a mistake? Well, what you feel is probably right!
According to a study from Kyoto University in Japan, female dogs judge human competence and are more likely to approach those who can perform tasks for them.
Female dogs “judge” people after seeing them make an error or act incompetently, according to Japanese researchers. While the researchers looked at how male and female dogs reacted to people acting competently or incompetently, they discovered that females stare longer and approach humans who appear competent while opening a container of food.
“Dogs are highly sensitive to human behavior, and they evaluate us using both their direct experiences and from a third-party perspective,” researchers write in the journal Behavioural Processes. “Dogs pay attention to various aspects of our actions and make judgments about, for example, social vs. selfish acts.”
30 dogs sat in front of two actors to see how they reacted to people making mistakes. Each person had a food container with a lid. The container was easily opened by the “competent” human. Meanwhile, the “incompetent” human struggled to remove the lid.
The team discovered that female dogs stared at the competent human for significantly longer than their male counterparts after recording this experiment. They were also more likely to approach the intelligent human capable of removing the lid. The study’s authors believe this demonstrates that female dogs can recognize competence and that this judgment influences their behavior.
“This result suggests that dogs can recognize different competence levels in humans, and that this ability influences their behavior according to the first situation. Our data also indicate that more attention should be given to potential sex differences in dogs’ social evaluation abilities,” the researchers conclude.