The ultimate ride-or-die homies …
A recent study from researchers at Marseille University in France shows that dogs really are a person's best friend. The study proves (with actual science-y stuff) that dogs are the ultimate ride-or-die homies to have in your crew — because dogs hate the same people you do; and what makes a tighter crew than sharing a common enemy?
The study, published in March 2016's journal of Animal Behaviour, looks at the way dogs interact with strangers when their owners are present. It shows that they regularly engage in "social referencing" as a way to gauge the appropriate behavior. By using social referencing, dogs look at subtle behavioral clues from their owner and respond accordingly.
Specifically, dogs look at an owner’s body language and actions when approaching and interacting with strangers. If their owner’s body language is unwelcoming, dogs react similarly. If their owner's body language is more positive, the dogs are more likely to be friendly as well. In some dogs, the reactions towards a stranger is especially hostile when the owner seems uncomfortable.
Researchers also discovered that male dogs are less likely to rely solely on their owner’s behavioral clues when interacting with a stranger. Additionally, they found that certain types of dogs give less fucks than most. In particular, molossoid (solidly-built, large breed) dogs do not take cues from their owners as much as others — dogs like mastiffs, boxers, pitbulls and bulldogs.
So, if you've ever thought your dog was a racist because it cowers near minorities, it's likely you that’s the racist after all. If you’re uncomfortable walking past a black dude, your dog notices and acts the part. Shame!
cover photo: Irina Bg / Shutterstock