An interesting study shows that dogs have a sense of fairness—a trait previously only demonstrated in primates. With two dogs present, scientists began by giving a treat for the dog offering its paw when asked. To start, both dogs would get a treat when they preformed the task. Then scientists stopped giving a treat to the first dog when it offered its paw, but continued to treat the second dog when it preformed. Very quickly, the first dog began refusing to offer its paw. (Smart pup!)
Interestingly, the “value” of the treat was irrelevant. Dogs were just as peeved if they didn’t get the bread treat than if they didn’t get the sausage treat. Primates react differently given the “value” of the treat.
It’s thought this sense of jealousy or fairness is connected to cooperative behavior like hunting—keeping track of who does what and what they get for it. So, scientist will next be looking at how emotion factors in to cooperative behavior.