Pet owners will often boast that their dog is the best judge of character—and now science may be able to back that claim up.

Japanese researchers, led by Kyoto University professor Kazuo Fujita, completed a study that showed dogs who see someone snubbing their owner are less likely to accept food from that person, reported MSN. 

Fujita and his colleagues looked at three groups of dogs and owners. In all three groups, the owner and dog were paired with two strangers and given a box to open. In one group, the owner asked one of the strangers to help and was refused. In another group, the stranger assisted when asked. In a third group, the strangers did not interact with the owner.

The researchers claim that after the role-playing, the dog who saw his owner’s request for help being denied preferred to accept food from the second stranger rather than the one who wouldn’t help. The dogs in the other groups didn’t show a preference between strangers when offered food.

The findings will soon be published in Animal Behaviour.

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