Dogs Understand Fairness, Get Jealous, Study Finds : NPR

“That’s not fair,” you  might be thinking as the government doles out billions of dollars to rescue one company after another. But did you know that your dog might detect a sense of inequity as well? Sure, Bailey doesn’t care a bit about Lehman Brothers or the Big Three, but a recent study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has demonstrated that dogs—like people and monkeys—will alter their behavior under circumstances we’d consider unfair.A story about this study, which aired on NPR’s Morning Edition as I was driving to the practice today, is fun listening, but the results must be interpreted with some caution, as discussion on NPR’s website suggests. In a nutshell, dogs were paired with a canine partner and both were asked to “shake.” One dog was rewarded for its efforts with a piece of bread; the other wasn’t rewarded at all. The unrewarded dog, once content to shake whether rewarded or not, eventually became less cooperative and ultimately discontinued the behavior when paired with the other dog. Read (or listen to) the NPR story here for more.