Your dog is likely much smarter than you give it credit for.
University of Vienna researchers found when dogs were trained to find food hidden in one of two covered bowls, they would trust a stranger called “the communicator” if he or she touched the food-filled bowl.
If the dog then saw a different person move the food from the first to the second bowl, and the communicator witnessed the interaction, and then still recommended the now-empty first bowl to the dog, the dog would ignore their judgment and go to the bowl actually filled with food.
If the communicator was not present at the time of the bowl switch, and then re-entered the room and once again directed the dog to the first bowl, half the dogs would follow the misleading advice.
Oregon State University researcher Monique Udell, who was not involved in this study, adds, “This study reminds us that dogs are watching us closely, are picking up on our social signals, and are learning from us constantly even outside of formal training contexts.”