New Research Shows Dogs Do Judge Their Owners


Ever get a feeling that your dog is judging you? You might not be alone…

I’ve always felt like my dog is kind of judging me… like if I’m a couple of minutes late with dinner, or if it has been too long since our last walk (even if it was just an hour ago). 

I would even catch her giving me her infamous side eye whenever I was being clumsy or did something wrong. Truth be told, I always thought it was just my dog’s personality, but then I saw videos online, and I was so happy it’s not just me. 

Turns out, there are many other dog owners who have judgy dogs just like myself — it’s hilarious. Except when you’re the one at the receiving end… khm.  

Researchers in Japan and experts studying dog behavior around people have also discovered that our furry friends might be judging their owners based on their competence. [1]

The Infamous Side Eye 

the dog is lying on the couch and looking over his eye
Photo from: @noodleandtilde

The British talk show, Loose Women, had a segment discussing the new research that came out, proving that dogs do judge their owners. Many creators used this opportunity to show that with an example of their own. 

The Dachshund named Noodle became a viral sensation when a video of his infamous side eye was posted on TikTok. 

His owner was filming the exact moment when the Loose Women segment mentioned the new research, and then the camera slowly panned to him and his hilarious reaction.  

The caption says: “Feel like someone in the room might have been part of the survey?”


feel like someone in this room might have been part of the survey (original credit @Paddy)

♬ Gereksiz akım çıkarmayın aq –

The video currently has over 10 million views and more than 2.2 million likes. Many have jumped in to comment and share their own views on the research: 

“Oh, my dog definitely does. I don’t need research. She’s very judgmental, and I love her for it”, said the user, @aaliyshsmiles. “My dog judges me every day”, commented next @claudia_ac. 

But, Noodle is not the only judgy dog the Internet has seen. The Bernese Mountain Dog named Weller is known for having quite a judgmental look when it comes to his owner’s fashion choices. 

It seems like Weller had been a fashion icon in his previous life because he never approves of his owner’s outfit. 

With his significant up and down look, and eyebrows that add extra judgment to his expression, Weller might be the king of the most judgmental stare ever. Over 3.1 million people have watched this video on TikTok so far.


Weller never approves of my outfit👀

♬ original sound – Roc Nation

A Closer Look At Research Findings 

the dog sits and looks at the owner through the eye
Photo from: @lena.the.doggie

How exactly did they find out dogs judge their owners? 

Well, we humans make judgments based on either direct social interactions or based on information from interactions among third parties. Either way, it’s called “social evaluation” [2], and it’s quite normal for us. 

Dogs were domesticated a long time ago, and over the years, they have acquired an excellent ability to read human behavior and communicate with humans. [3]

They pay attention to various aspects of our life, and can make judgments about it, but it is still unclear if they could judge human competence. This is what the researchers tried to investigate.  

the dog lies on the sofa and watches
Photo from: @darwinleeds

The researchers from Kyoto University, in Japan, conducted a study that involved testing 74 dogs from different breeds, and they came up with a result that indicates that dogs are capable of judging humans according to their competency.

They separated the human volunteers into two groups and presented them to dogs: 

  • One was good at removing the lid to take an object from a transparent container (competent person) 
  • The other one was unsuccessful at this task (incompetent person).

In the following test, the dogs approached the competent person more than the incompetent one when containers with food were introduced. In particular, female dogs were more likely to approach the person who showed better competence at opening the container. 

These results show that dogs can, in fact, perceive different levels of competence in humans and base their behavior accordingly. 

So, if you ever feel like your dog is judging you, there are high chances that it’s not just a feeling — it’s the truth.

cute dog looking at the camera
Photo from: @cheytjuh1990


[1] Chijiiwa, H., Horisaki, E., Hori, Y., Anderson, J. R., Fujita, K., & Kuroshima, H. (2022). Female dogs evaluate levels of competence in humans. Behavioural Processes, 203, 104753. DOI 

[2] Abdai, J., & Miklósi, Á. (2016). The Origin of Social Evaluation, Social Eavesdropping, Reputation Formation, Image Scoring or What You Will. Frontiers in Psychology, 7. DOI

[3] Hare, B., & Tomasello, M. (2005). Human-like social skills in dogs? Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 9(9), 439–444. DOI