Dogs can tell when you want to give them a treat – even if you don't

New Scientist 

Pet dogs know when you intend to give them a treat, even if you drop it where they can't get to it Dogs can understand when humans mean well, even if they don't get what they want from us. Prior to this work, the ability to distinguish between a human being unwilling or unable to perform a task had only been found in non-human primates. The close social bond between humans and canines is well established, but researchers have a limited understanding of if and how dogs comprehend human intent. To see if pet dogs can distinguish between intentional and accidental actions by strangers, Christoph Völter at the University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna in Austria and his colleagues ran tests with humans offering dogs food while the animals' body movements were tracked using eight cameras. Each dog and human were separated by a transparent plastic panel with holes that a slice of sausage could be passed through.

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