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Massachusetts reporter Joe Reppucci's news and resources for those who love pets
The Ruff Report: Dogs, Safety and Behavior
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Joe Reppucci of Lexington, Mass., writes about dogs and keeping them a healthy part of the family. He has worked as a reporter and editor on major daily newspapers in the Boston area for more than 30 years and is a graduate of Lexington High School ...
The Dog Blog
Joe Reppucci of Lexington, Mass., writes about dogs and keeping them a healthy part of the family. He has worked as a reporter and editor on major daily newspapers in the Boston area for more than 30 years and is a graduate of Lexington High School and of Suffolk University in Boston. He writes often about nutrition, behavior and saving money on pet supplies and insurance.
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March 23, 2013 11:20 a.m.

Your dog really is clever enough to outsmart you
Dogs apparently are clever enough to recognize when humans are watching them, so many of our pets outsmart us by patiently waiting until we are not looking before they participate in mischievous behavior, a study has found.
Dogs, who have much better nighttime vision than humans, wait to perform their most mischievous deeds - like stealing food - under the cover of darkness, according to Juliane Kaminski, a psychology professor at the University of Portsmouth in England, who conducted the study.
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When a human forbids a dog from taking food, dogs are four times more likely to disobey in a dark room than a lit room, suggesting they take into account what the human can or cannot see, the research showed.
ďThe results of these tests suggest that dogs are deciding itís safer to steal the food when the room is dark because they understand something of the humanís perspective,Ē Ms. Kaminski states in a media release.
The research, published in the journal Animal Cognition, is the first study to examine if dogs differentiate between different levels of light when they are developing strategies on whether to steal food.
ďThatís incredible because it implies dogs understand the human canít see them, meaning they might understand the human perspective,Ē Ms. Kaminski said.
Ms. Kaminski ran experiments in varied light conditions. In each test, a dog was forbidden by a human from taking the food. When the room was dark, the dogs took more food and took it more quickly than when the room was lit. The tests involved many variables to rule out that dogs were basing their decisions on simple associative rules, for example, that dark means food. There is no evidence on how well dogs can see in the dark, but the results of this research show dogs can differentiate between light and dark. In total, 42 female and 42 male domestic dogs age 1 or older took part in the tests.
The research is an incremental step in our understanding the ability of dogs to think and understand. This information may help those who work with dogs, including police, vision-impaired people, those who use gun dogs and those who have dogs as pets.
More reports about dogs, behavior and safety:
Dogs always mouth off before they bite
Dogs feel no guilt about misbehaving
A place for dogs where fighting often erupts
Hey dummy, your dog's smarter than you think
The secret to getting your dog to behave
This injury risk to dogs just keeps booming
Tips to help your pet cope during fireworks season
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Many earlier research papers have found that dogs have the ability to interpret a humanís eyes as an important signal when deciding how to behave. They respond more willingly to attentive humans rather than inattentive ones.
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