Dogs Are Expert Readers... of You
We're accidentally training our pups all the time
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Jun 17, 2011 2:00 PM CDT
This puppy is watching you.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – Dogs know when we’re paying attention to them—and when we’re looking the other way, a study suggests. Pairs of experimenters carrying treats stood equidistant from a dog and called out to it. One of the pair had her back to the dog, while the other faced it—and every canine tested, whether a domestic pup, a shelter dog, or a wolf, headed to the person looking at it, the New York Times reports.

“Turning your back—that’s a cue all the animals were sensitive to,” said a researcher. “Dogs don’t have to read our minds. Dogs read our behavior,” she added. “They are watching us,” and “whether we know it or not, we are training them.” That means consistency is key to training. “If we as owners don’t remain consistent, the dog is learning what it’s allowed to do, even if in our heads, that’s not what we desire.”

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Showing 3 of 6 comments
cornelison
Jun 17, 2011 7:58 PM CDT
If a dog doesn't trust you they won't go to you - even if you have a treat. Dogs are smell first, hearing second and eyes third. When a dog looks to you for cues it means that the dog will follow you & respect you. You don't even have to look at the dog. The study in this article is too simplistic when it comes to dog psychology.
schmidtkoff
Jun 17, 2011 6:23 PM CDT
anyone who has had or has a dog and who is committed to said dog already knows this. dogs take their cues and develop their behavior in tandem with their owner. if the owner shrinks from social interaction so will the dog do also. if the owner chastises or punishes the dog severally the dog will cower in order to await a punishment. they watch us. they take our cues and react accordingly. if we do not like their reaction, or if we expect a different reaction, and do not like the result and we, in our ignorance, punish, ignore or otherwise disconnect the animal/human bond it is not the animal/dog who has failed. is it us. they are smarter than you think they are. and more endearing in their loyalty despite brutality.
winterfairy
Jun 17, 2011 5:38 PM CDT
My Dog This morning I went to sign my dogs up for welfare. At first the lady said, "Dogs are not eligible to draw welfare." So I explained to her that my dogs are mixed in color, unemployed, lazy, can't speak English and have no clue who their Dads are. They expect me to feed them, provide them with housing and medical care. So she looked in her policy book to see what it takes to qualify. My dogs get their first checks Friday. Is this a great country, or what????