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Recently, scientific findings discovered that dogs are capable of manipulation, so in order to prove it, we asked our own resident good boy, Bingley.
From the “sure, Jan” corners of the scientific world, the University of Zurich has apparently proven that your dog has the capacity to manipulate you. Marianne Heberlein, the maven behind the study, was inspired by the behaviour of her own canine pals, when she spied one pretending to gaze at something interesting, to chisel the other dog from its sleeping spot.
In order to test her theory, Heberlein wrangled a collective of doggos, and paired them with a collection of owners. Some they knew, some they didn’t. Some of those owners had treats, some of them absolutely did not.
After the dogs ascertained which person was “cooperative” and which was “competitive”, the pooches had to lead each person to one of three boxes that contained either a delicious sausage, a dry dog biscuit, or nada. After each trial, the dogs’ real owners allowed the dogs to lead them to a box and eat whatever was inside.
By the second day, many of the canine cabal were deliberately misleading the unsharing competitive person to the empty box, banking on the fact that they still had a chance of getting the tasty treat by making a beeline for the sausage box with their owners afterwards.
So, therefore, dogs are capable of manipulation. While authors neatly concluded that it proves that dogs are capable of tactical deception and adjusting their behaviour depending on who they’re dealing with, we here at The Big Smoke don’t play that – so, we headed directly to the source to ask our own questions.
The Big Smoke: Bingley! Who za good professional journalist? Huh? Yes you are! Yes! Now, can you tell us, for the record, have you ever mislead your owner?
Bingley: Hello hello hello hello hello hello.
Yes, hello to you, Bingley, you silly boy. Now, sit, ye–yes, that’s good, now can you answer the question? Are you able to manipulate your humans?
I climb up on desk. Treat?
Now’s not the time for treat–
That’s okay, Bingley. It’s my fault. Now, to the question at paw…
Alright, treat. But then you have to answer my question.
Treat?! Treat-treat-treat-treat-treat. Okay.
There you go–watch the fingers, Bingley. So, have you ever conned an owner to get what you want?
Tired. I sleep now.
Okay. I’ll take that as a no.
Well, there you have it. Irrefutable, peer-reviewed evidence that clearly disproves the findings of the University of Zurich. At the risk of editorialising, you see, even the worst of the good boys wouldn’t do their owners like that. They’re all good boys.