REFRESH

Turns Out Your Dog Might Be Lying To You To Get A Treat

Those loyal puppy eyes are all a front.

01/05/2017 11:49 AM AEST | Updated 01/05/2017 1:23 PM AEST

Whether you're a dog lover or a cat person, you're probably attune (perhaps unwillingly) to the wealth of benefits that come with owning a dog (sorry cat people).

Not only can they keep you fit and active, detect low blood sugar and improve your social life, they're all honest, loyal and obedient ... aren't they?

A new study has proven your pooch is more than capable of deceiving you if a delicious treat is on the line.

A team of researchers from the University of Zurich in Switzerland dove into the dark depths of doggos and deception with a three-way choice task to see whether dogs are able to mislead humans.

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Oodles of lies.

A group of 27 dogs of different breeds were trained to play with two different kinds of people: the kind who constantly gives food -- "the cooperative" -- and the kind who holds food back for themselves, deemed "the competitive".

After the dogs were acquainted with both "the cooperative" and "the competitor", they were given a chance to lead each person to one of three food locations: one box containing a sausage, another a dry biscuit or nothing at all.

They showed an impressive flexibility in behaviour ... they're thinking about what different options they have.Marianne Heberlein

The cooperative person would share the contents of the box with the dog, whereas the competitive person would hoard its contents for themselves. Take a guess where the competitive partner was being lead.

"Comparing the dogs' behaviour in the presence of the cooperative and the competitive partner, we found an interaction between test day and partner's role in leading them to the food box containing the preferred food," the study authors told Vice.

"On both test days, the dogs were more likely to lead the cooperative partner than the competitive one to the box containing the preferred food, and this effect was stronger on the second day than on the first test day."

Essentially, as time went on, the dogs learnt which humans would get them closer to what they wanted. They became tactical.

According to lead researcher Marianne Heberlein, this adjustment didn't take long.

"They were really quickly able to differentiate between the two partners. There was no additional learning step needed," Heberlein said.

"They showed an impressive flexibility in behaviour ... they're thinking about what different options they have."

Clever doggos.

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