You might think your dog steals food off the table just to get your goat, but mostly it’s just because they love eating. But did you know that many dogs know enough to conduct their food thievery when your vision is hindered?
A new study in Animal Cognition explores how dogs perceive how we perceive. Researchers had owners forbid their dog from eating a tasty snack, then turned down the lights to different levels with the owner still there. As the dimness of the room increased, the dogs were more likely to steal food and took more of it. Between a perfectly lit room and a dark room, dogs were four times more likely to swipe the munchies in the dark.
We know dogs rely on their ears and noses much more than humans do, but this study indicates that dogs understand on some level that we use our eyes to make judgements, like when a certain pooch is being very, very naughty.
Most experts will shake their heads when owners insist that their dogs perceive and feel certain human emotions, a notion that mostly springs from the owner projecting their own emotions on their dog. But this new study suggests that our pooches may be pretty perceptive after all.