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The Snub Effect: New Study Shows Dogs Might be More Loyal than We Ever Knew

Posted June 16, 2015 in A Pet's Life

Woman hugging dog

Kyoto University’s Companion Animal Mind Project might be on to something. We all know how loyal our dogs are, but Kyoto researches have established that dogs know enough about human behavior to take their pet parent’s side during even passive confrontations.

Reported by Alan Boyle of NBC News, the researchers looked at three groups of 18 dogs and their guardians. Each dog was shown a little skit which included 2 strangers and the dog’s guardian, who was having trouble opening a box. In the first group, when the guardian asked for help, the stranger refused. In the second group, the stranger gladly helped out. Meanwhile, in the third group, there was no interaction with the stranger.

When the show was over, the strangers held a treat out for the dog. Holding true to loyalty, the dogs were more likely to choose a treat from the kind/neutral stranger and ignored the one who wouldn’t help their guardian.

The full results are to be published in the journal, Animal Behaviour.

Has your dog ever snubbed someone who snubbed you? Tell us below!

To read more about the bond between pets and their people, click here >>

If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian – they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.


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Tori has more than 2 years of experience in the pet health industry and is junior editor of IDEXX’s Pet Health Network team.

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The opinions and views expressed in this post are those of the author's and do not necessarily represent the beliefs, policies or positions of all veterinarians, Pet Health Network, IDEXX Laboratories, Inc. or its affiliates and partner companies.