Your Dog Knows To Steal Food When Nobody's Watching

Good news: your dog understands you! Bad news: watch the Kibbles 'n Bits.

Guilty-Looking Dog

Wikimedia Commons

You've probably always felt like your dog understands you, and it does--well enough to work out the best way to swipe some food from you.

Researchers from the University of Portsmouth recently worked out a clever (and adorable-sounding) way to see if dogs could understand a human's point of view. In a series of experiments, they had a person forbid a dog from eating some food, then had the person leave. The researchers varied the brightness of the lights and, when it was dark, the dog was four times as likely to go for the food. What's more, they were quicker to grab the food and grabbed more of it.

The study is published in the journal Animal Cognition.

Past studies have shown how chimpanzees change their behavior if a person can see them, but the researchers say, although its been been studied, it isn't completely clear how dogs change their actions around people. This might be a slight indication that dogs are able to step inside their owners' shoes more than previously thought.

So if you can't get it out of reach completely, at least leave the lights on if you're trying to protect a cake.