Scientific research proves dogs can recognise a "bad" person

French Bulldog barking on human dog-wow © Irina Kozorog - Shutterstock

Have you ever wondered why your dog is particularly agitated or even aggressive only with certain people? A study has shown that in reality dogs are capable of recognising a bad person.

By Emilie Heyl

Published on the , Updated on the

Often, dog owners are unable to explain why their pooch acts aggressively towards certain people. While they may think that this behaviour is caused by the dog being in a bad mood or scared, scientists have proved that this dog’s behaviour is based on something larger. Indeed, scientists have proved that dogs are able to recognise a bad person and that is the reason why they do not like their proximity. 

It has already been proven that dogs are empathetic animals and are able to recognise human feelings such as sadness, anger and happiness. But to come to the conclusion that dogs can recognise a bad person without even feeling the person’s emotion, that is super interesting. Scientists have conducted an experiment. Let’s find out more about this.


Researchers have carried out an experiment confirming that dogs recognise a "bad" person

Researchers chose to explore a more controversial aspect because dogs have a particularly strong sixth sense towards humans, and if they appear to be more or less sociable depending on who they come into contact with, there must be an explanation.

The study was published in the scientific journal Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews. The researchers presented two scenes to the dog: the protagonists were the owner and two collaborators. In the first scene, the dog's owner, in difficulty to open a container with food, asked for help from one of the two accomplices while the other was not concerned. The dog then accepted food from both characters indiscriminately.

In the second scene, one of the two collaborators refused to help the owner to open the box, while the other watched without intervening: the dog only accepted the latter's food and was suspicious of the person who did not help the owner.

So the researchers concluded that dogs judge humans based on their behaviour towards others.

If your dog starts growling, barking, or doesn't want to be petted by a specific person, it may be because he once didn't behave well towards you and your dog noticed.

Here is the video of the experiment carried out by researchers:

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