Everyone knows canines are renown for their impeccable sense of smell, but did you know dogs can recognize a bad person for a distance too? According to a research led by the Kyoto University in Japan, they can sniff a bad apple pretty quickly.
Well, maybe they can’t work as a lie detector, but they take the old saying “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.” at heart.
It’s true, dogs can recognize a bad person
The Japanese researchers tried to play a trick on the canines during their experiment. They would point to a food container to signal the dog where his meal was, and on the second turn, they would misguide the canine to an empty recipient. One single time was more than enough for the dogs to stop trusting that researcher.
A more recent study from 2017 also supports these findings. In it, the researchers tested how the dogs would relate to strangers dealing with their owners in different contexts. The owner would ask for help to do something, and the dog would see him get different responses from people. Afterwards, these same strangers were to give the dog a treat.
It turns out the dogs would completely ignore and even shun the strangers who had been rude or displayed an aggressive stance towards their masters.
How can they tell?
Here is where things get tricky. Several theories were already put forward but none was proved as of yet and it will be really hard to do so.
Can they smell it?
The frontrunner of these theories claims that dogs can smell the chemical changes that happen in the brain, when a person loses their temper or when they are trying to disguise their emotions.
These would represent minimal changes to their body odor, but dogs can smell cancer even in its beginning, so why not?
Do they read the room?
The runner up theory is one easier to understand. Since dogs are predisposed to bond with humans and that feeling is stronger towards their owners, they can simply be interpreting the clues.
Canines can read faces and they know their owners very well, so they would be able to tell when you’re unsure, mad or scared towards someone and take up immediately to dislike them too.
Listen to your dog
It can also be that these theories are completely off the mark and dogs can recognize a bad person simply because they have a very keen 6th sense. Who knows?
But, just in case, have a chat with your dog whenever you’re unsure about someone. Maybe they will pick on something you haven’t. And, most importantly, trust your dog whenever you see him side-eyeing someone.