12th Feb 2013 9:19am | By Editor
It's something dog lovers have always suspected - man's best friend is capable of a ‘flexible understanding’ of human behaviour, new research has revealed.
Experiments on 84 canines published in Animal Cognition show dogs are capable of adapting their actions in response to changes in their human owners.
One study carried out revealed pooches are four times more likely to steal forbidden food or twice as likely to disobey an order when the lights in a room are turned out, suggesting they know they can't be seen.
The study says it's "unlikely that the dogs simply forgot the human was in the room".
"That's incredible because it implies does understand the human can't see them, meaning they might understand the human perspective,” University of Portsmouth’s Dr Julianne Kaminski says of the findings.
“Humans constantly attribute certain qualities and emotions to other living things.
“We know that our own dog is clever or sensitive, but that’s us thinking, not them. These results suggest humans might be right.”
So it seems that man’s best friend really could be exactly that. And, no, we're not barking...