Posted November 03, 2018 06:06:30A new study suggests that puppies who are taught to lie are more likely to follow the commands of their handlers than those who are told to do the opposite.
Researchers from the University of Melbourne say the study suggests dogs may be more motivated to lie when they are under the instruction of their owners.
“We believe that this effect is due to a behavioural adaptation that is present in many dog breeds and that dogs will be more likely than others to lie to us if they are instructed to lie by their owners,” study author Professor James Cairns said.
“The effect may be especially pronounced in situations where the owner is also lying to us.”
The study is published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behaviour.
The authors found that when dogs were trained to lie, they were also more likely on average to follow their owners instructions.
“When dogs were instructed to ‘tell the truth’, the dogs were more likely in their behaviour to follow through with their instructions, than when they were told to lie,” Professor Cairn said.
The researchers also found that the more often the dogs’ owners told them to lie (when asked to lie more than once a day), the more likely they were to lie.
“It may be that dogs are more prone to lie because they are more willing to tell us that they are telling the truth when they have been told to say ‘no’,” Professor Cairson said.
Dr Cairnes said the results were consistent with studies that have shown dogs have a tendency to lie in the presence of their owner.
“This study suggests it is the ability of dogs to lie that is most important, and that owners can be the most effective lie detector,” he said.