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Dogs Have A Good Sense Of Judgment, Researchers Confirm

This explains why they don't like certain people.

07/10/2017 12:17 EDT | Updated 07/10/2017 12:18 EDT

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.

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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.

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"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."