Hey, Rude People: A New Study Shows That Dogs Are Judging Your Bad Behavior

Do you talk on your phone while ordering coffee? Do you refuse to give up your train seat to the pregnant or elderly? Do you spend a lot of time leaving cruelly “funny” comments on celebrity Instagram photos? If you answered yes to any of these questions, BAD NEWS: Dogs are disappointed in you.

According to a new study out of Kyoto University, dogs are more likely to reject humans who they witness behaving badly. Similar to babies’ “inate morality” that helps them judge adults, dogs appear to have a set concept of morals and standards.

In a staged study, dogs watched their owners struggle to open a jar as actors chose to either help them, do nothing, or refuse assistance altogether. The actors then offered the dogs treat, and the pups were far more likely to accept the goods from those who helped or were passive than those who flat-out refused.

The study’s lead researcher James Anderson speculates that dogs’ long-lived relationships with humans have likely made them more sensitive to our feelings. “If somebody is behaving antisocially, [the dogs] probably end up with some sort of emotional reaction to it,” Anderson told the New Scientist.

If we can be so bold as to amend the great Phaedra Parks’ season 8 tagline, “Only dogs can judge us, and they seem quite impressed.”

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