Study Finds That Dogs Can Sense Bad People

We’re all familiar with the rumor that dogs can sense things before we silly humans can, but this is the first time it’s been scientifically proven that man’s best friend is actually more perceptive than us. It’s not just ghosts either folks.

A recent study led by Akiko Takaoka at Kyoto University in Japan discovered that dogs are actually able to determine whether someone is a ‘bad person’ or not. Dogs mistrusted and even showed hostility to those they mistrusted. So remember the next time your dog growls at someone — they might know something you don’t.

Dogs Can Recognize Liars

dog outside polling station looking pensive
Photo Credit: Chris J Ratcliffe / Getty Images
Photo Credit: Chris J Ratcliffe / Getty Images

The study surveyed 34 dogs and began with determining if the dogs can use previous experience to inform their reaction to a person. They began by pointing to different objects to get the dog to explore it. The first time researchers pointed to a container filled with food. The second time they pointed to an empty container.

In the third round, the researchers pointed again to a container with food – but the dog wouldn’t go. Researchers concluded that the dog remembered that they lied about food in the second round so they wouldn’t go explore in the third.

Dogs Can Differentiate Between The Helpful And The Hurtful

dog two people being held small dog
Photo Credit: Joe Giddens / PA Images / Getty Images
Photo Credit: Joe Giddens / PA Images / Getty Images

The study also wanted to know how the dog’s behavior was influenced by their owner’s interactions with others. Researchers had the owner approach three different types of people and ask for help – those who gave help, those who did nothing, and those who acted aggressively towards their owners.

Researchers had these 3 people offer the dog a treat. The dog accepted the treat from those who helped and those who did nothing but wouldn’t take one from the people who behaved ‘badly’ towards their owners. The study concluded that these smart puppies avoid people who mistreat their owners.

Their High Social Intelligence Lets Them Decode Human Interactions

dog graduation harvard, dog wears cap and gown
Photo Credit: Rick Friedman / Corbis / Getty Images
Photo Credit: Rick Friedman / Corbis / Getty Images

Researchers think the dog’s ability to understand and make decisions about people from their actions come from a high level of social intelligence that they use to understand our gestures, interactions, and facial expressions.

However, dogs use this social know-how to live and react in the present without much thought for how their behavior will affect them or their owners in the future. This ‘6th sense’ without thinking allows dogs to make game-time decisions. Here are other stories about dogs who seemed to know when trouble was ahead and have saved their owners because of it.

This Dog Saved His Owners Minutes Before A Tree Fell On Them

GettyImages -997125930 Storm Cleanup In Portland
Photo Credits: Shawn Patrick Ouellette / Portland Press Herald / Getty Images
Photo Credits: Shawn Patrick Ouellette / Portland Press Herald / Getty Images

Reddit user kaetherial writes, ‘I was sitting in my backyard with my mom on my swingset with Zack and Jazzie our dogs. Suddenly Zack started to get very emphatic about going for a walk. We ignored him until he got more and more agitated so eventually, we took him out.’

‘We were 50 yards away from my house when we heard a massive crack. Turns out one of the large trees in our backyard had died and a giant branch had snapped and completely destroyed the swingset. It would have crushed us if we hadn’t gotten up.’ Thanks, Zack.

A Neighbor’s Dog Dug Her Out Of A Snowbank

dog in snow walking
Photo Credit: Dmitry Feoktistov / TASS / Getty Images
Photo Credit: Dmitry Feoktistov / TASS / Getty Images

Reddit user chrissymad writes that when she was a kid there was a huge blizzard. She says that ‘the snow was at least 4-6 feet in some places. I was a small 8-year-old, barely 40 lbs and a little over 3 ft tall.’

She goes out to play and gets stuck in a snowbank, ‘I’m yelling and crying and my tears are freezing to my face. I see this dog and he starts barking at me and then barking towards his back door. Then the dog jumps over the fence and starts pulling me until his owner comes.’

This St. Bernard Stopped A Kidnapping By Grabbing The Baby From A Stranger’s Hands

st bernard hug girl wth st bernard
Photo Credit: Gerry Crowther / Mirrorpix / Getty Images
Photo Credit: Gerry Crowther / Mirrorpix / Getty Images

Reddit user BlueMacaw’s 18-month-old cousin had only a brush with fate thanks to her family dog Nana. They write that, ‘she was playing outside with her two older sisters while my aunt, her mom, was washing dishes in the kitchen. Nana started barking furiously and barreling past the window.’

Their Aunt saw that ‘a man had pulled over his car, leaned over to open the passenger side door, and was helping my cousin into the car. Nana charged the car, grabbed my cousin by the diaper, and ripped her out of the stranger’s grasp.’ Nana truly saved the day.

This Dog Felt The Van Coming Before The Owner

Gettdogs person walking dogs frenchie pitbull
Photo Credit: Matias Delacroix / Getty Images
Photo Credit: Matias Delacroix / Getty Images

Reddit user thejellyfish was pulled out of harm’s way while walking their dog. They write they were ‘about to cross the road when she started pulling back toward the pavement. I thought it was just her being a pain but I took her to the side anyway to be sure.’

What thejellyfish hadn’t seen was ‘a van that had mounted the curb and was doing about 60mph in a 20 school zone. ‘It missed me by less than a meter and hit the area I was standing about 2 seconds before.’ That dog definitely saved their life.

This Dog Knew To Get Help When Its Owner Collapsed

 dachshund on road in coat chilling
Photo Credit: Sergii Kharchenko / NurPhoto / Getty Images
Photo Credit: Sergii Kharchenko / NurPhoto / Getty Images

Reddit user autumnx writes that their mom has epilepsy and was home alone with their family dachshund when they returned to an uncharacteristically locked house. They write that they ‘knocked a few times and didn’t think she was home so I turned to walk away to my friend’s house.’

They say that, ‘right before I do, I see our dog come running towards the door, slamming his whole body up against it and making the weirdest barking noises. I ended up breaking into my house to find my mom in the shower having an episode.’ Talk about a smart dog.

When Another Dog Got Threatening, This Dog Stepped Up To Protect His Owner

 dog poking head through fence german shepherd
Photo Credit: Artyom Geodakyan / TASS / Getty Images
Photo Credit: Artyom Geodakyan / TASS / Getty Images

Reddit user jc1401 was saved by his German shepherd mix Digbie when another dog tried to attack them while they were locked out. He writes that, ‘a dog started to aggressively run towards me. I only had seconds before the dog got to me so I ran to the back gate.’

When the dog was almost at them they locked eyes in agreement. Suddenly, ‘Digbie pinned her ears back and then rushed the other dog. She managed to tackle the dog while I got the back door open and we got inside.’ That was a close one.

‘Lady’ Tried To Tell The Family When Her Elderly Owner Was Being Mistreated

GettyImages-1097815110 border collie laying in a daisy field
Photo Credit: Farm Images / Universal Images Group / Getty Images
Photo Credit: Farm Images / Universal Images Group / Getty Images

When a Reddit user’s grandmother had to get a support nurse, her normally sweet dog Lady had a strange reaction. From the moment she met her, Lady hated her and would ‘bark at the woman nonstop and at times had to be forcibly removed from the room when the nurse was in with my grandma.’

One day when the mom came over unannounced she saw the nurse ‘screaming at her grandmother for having wet herself and Lady standing in between them to prevent further escalation.’ The nurse was promptly fired and reported. This is a case of dog knows best.

Lady Also Stopped Her Owner From Being Abducted

 dog laying in grass looking at camera cute
Photo Credit: James D. Morgan / Contributor / Getty Images
Photo Credit: James D. Morgan / Contributor / Getty Images

This dog seriously deserves a medal. The Reddit user writes that one day the mom was walking Lady when she was just a puppy when a man pulled over and asked for directions. They write that the, ‘more he talked, the more visibly anxious Lady was with the situation and man.’

They say that the man, ‘eventually tried to force my mom into the car. Lady freaked out and he yelled something about her ‘crazy attack dog’ and drove off.’ Lady knew from the start and if it wasn’t for her the situation could have gone very differently.

Golden Retriever Growls And Warns Child After Strange Man Approaches

dog girl cute pet by girl golden retriever
Photo Credit: Mindy Schauer / Digital First Media / Orange County Register / Getty Images
Photo Credit: Mindy Schauer / Digital First Media / Orange County Register / Getty Images

Reddit user SonOfPlinkett writes that when a family friend Jill was 10 years old and walking their golden retriever, a strange man approached them and the dog started ‘making a low growl at the man. This dog is the friendliest so Jill knew right away this guy was not trustworthy.’

Jill told the man that she had to take her dog home and began to quickly walk away, ‘then the man started following her so she started running. When she got home she told her parents and they called the cops.’ The police said the man had a history of child abduction.

These Dogs Herded Their Owner Away From A Lurking Mountain Lion

woman walking dog through forest sunny day
Photo Credit: Education Images / Universal Images Group / Getty Images
Photo Credit: Education Images / Universal Images Group / Getty Images

Reddit user Dananddog was taking his two German shepherds Magee and Magraw out for a walk in the forest when the dogs started behaving strangely. He says that ‘Magraw would normally be out in front. But tonight he stood close and he started growling.’

The next thing he knew, Magee came out of the bushes and the two dogs placed themselves behind and in front of him. ‘All of a sudden I got the impression I was being herded,’ he says. Later, reports came in about a mountain lion in the area.

‘Sugarfoot’ Saves A Shivering Kitten

Gettykitten being held looking scared but very cute
Photo Credit: Sefa Karacan / Anadolu Agency / Getty Images
Photo Credit: Sefa Karacan / Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

Reddit user Cerianna proves that dogs are looking out for both us and their animal kingdom compadres. She writes that while walking his puppy Sugarfoot one night, the puppy, ‘kept pawing at a dumpster near an abandoned apartment complex.’

She says that ‘he absolutely refused to leave it alone. Inside was a tiny, shivering kitten in the one dry corner. The kitten had been fussing so long he had screamed himself hoarse.’ This story just proves that dogs truly do have hearts of gold and a 6th sense.

Boxer Saves A Crawling Baby From An Oncoming Car

boxer and baby walking down the street
Photo Credit: Max Mumby / Indigo / Getty Images
Photo Credit: Max Mumby / Indigo / Getty Images

When a Reddit user’s father was just a baby there was a dog named Shemp who was the mascot of the trailer park he lived in. One day when their grandmother wasn’t looking, the dad began to wander across the street. Right in front of an oncoming car.

They write that in the nick of time, ‘Shemp ran over and grabbed my dad by his diaper and got him out of there. Apparently, it took a good half hour before Shemp would let him go, carrying him around by his diaper the whole time.’

Steeler Tries To Alert His Owner To His Fiancé’s Medical Emergency

dog steeler looking cute and weird
Photo Credit: TallCharacter / Reddit
Photo Credit: TallCharacter / Reddit

Reddit user TallCharacter writes that he was playing videogames when his puppy Steeler wouldn’t stop barking. He says it was normal for the puppy so, ‘I just ignore him and keep playing. 45 seconds later, he puts his paw on the controller and begins trying to take it. At this point, I hear a commotion in the bathroom.’

He gets up and finds his hypoglycemic fiancé having a seizure in the bathtub, ‘she was about 1/4th of an inch from downing when I found her and was beginning to seize.’ Without Steeler, she could’ve drowned.

A Snake In The Grass… Or Under A Wooden Sofa

snake slithering tongue out
Photo Credit: Stipe Mayic / Anadolu Agency / Getty Images
Photo Credit: Stipe Mayic / Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

Reddit user arjunks writes that he was sitting outside barefoot on a wooden swing with his feet hanging over the edge, ‘when our dog suddenly went mad at them. I got up and realized he was barking at something under the sofa.’

What was under the sofa was ‘a very venomous snake.’ If it wasn’t for the dog causing a stir the poster’s feet could’ve been bitten and the situation fatal. Turns out dogs are good at sniffing both metaphorical and literal snakes in the grass.

This Golden Retriever Led A Runaway Child To Safety

GettyImages-1124269220 golden retriever gets cuddles from its owner
Photo Credit: Timothy A. Clary / AFP / Getty Images
Photo Credit: Timothy A. Clary / AFP / Getty Images

Reddit user BigCarter shows that dogs really do care about our wellbeing – whether we know them or not. He writes that, ‘when I was younger I ran away from home, about a mile away I came upon a golden retriever which refused to leave me alone.’

Eventually, he began to follow the dog and it, ‘led me to its owner’s house who let me call my home. My parents came and picked me up.’ This story is a heartwarming reminder that our four-legged friends are watching out for us.

Pit Bull Pulls Grandma To Safety After Falling On Ice

pitbull smiling at a counter
Photo Credit: Jack Taylor / Getty Images
Photo Credit: Jack Taylor / Getty Images

Reddit user kittymcmeowmeow writes that their grandma was living alone with her pitbull Sapphire when she slipped and fell on ice outside her porch. They write that ‘she screamed and yelled, but nobody could hear her.’

Luckily Sapphire, ‘bit down on her jacket and dragged her in the house. Sapphire drug her close enough to the phone that she was able to pull it down by the cord and dial 911.’ Sapphire saved her from freezing – what a wicked cool dog.

This Late-Night Hotel Staff Member Was Saved By Her Pitbull

pitbull smiling super cute very small micropitbull
Photo Credit: Joel Forrest / Bacroft Images / Barcroft Media / Getty Images
Photo Credit: Joel Forrest / Bacroft Images / Barcroft Media / Getty Images

Reddit user peachyred writes that she had a late-night encounter when she was working the overnight shift at a hotel that could have gone really badly. She writes that ‘it was 2 am and she was coming back to the lobby from bringing towels to a room when a guy was walking towards her with a meat hook.’

When she called for her pitbull who was behind the desk, ‘he saw the dog and the guy ran out. My sister said she honestly believed the guy was going to kill her.’ That dog should be the employee of the month.