Are you a giving person? Your dog may know.
New research published in scientific journal PLOS One suggests dogs can recognize and remember whether a person is generous or selfish. "Adult subjects (both family and shelter dogs) developed a preference for G [generous] over S [selfish]," the study concludes.
Using a group of family dogs, shelter dogs and puppies, researchers directed two rounds of training sessions, followed by a choice session. In the initial training, a person pointed to a bowl filled with roasted chicken and allowed the dog to eat it. This action represented "generosity." Then another person directed the dog to food but ate it themselves before the dog could get to it. This represented "selfishness."
After each session, both the generous and selfish humans held up a food bowl, allowing the dog to choose which person to approach. Both the family and the shelter dogs preferred to approach the person who had been generous.
In a second training, the adult dogs took even longer to approach the selfish humans as they pointed to a food bowl. To the researchers, that further supports the idea that dogs can recall and respond to generosity.