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Man's best friend may know his secrets

Wednesday - 2/13/2013, 7:07am  ET

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Diesel, the dog of WTOP's David Burd, knows more about his owner than he lets on. Good thing he can't type. (WTOP/David Burd)

David Burd, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - Most dog owners already know what the Daily Mail reports: "Your dog really does understand you."

In an experiment, researchers forbade a dog from taking any food. When the room was dark, the dog was more likely to take the food than when the room was lit.

Researchers say the discovery shows the dog thought about whether a human could see it or not before taking the bait.

Lead researcher Dr. Juliane Kaminski of the University of Portsmouth's department of psychology tells the Daily Mail this implies dogs may understand human perspective and social dynamics.

If you're a dog owner, you're probably not surprised. We've thought that dogs know more than they let on.

When you're sick, for example, your dog knows and will probably (if they're like my dog) hang out on the bed with you.

But how did they know you weren't feeling well? Was it the smell of the Vicks VapoRub on your chest? Maybe the constant nose-blowing? The way you look and act?

It could be all of the above, but the point is: Dogs get humans.

My dog, Diesel, knows when I'm coming home. I don't have a clue how, but he always waits and looks out the window for my car, even though I come home at different times each day. He's not wearing a doggie wristwatch either.

The boy is good at figuring out his owner -- and at being a bad dog. Instead of getting into the trash when I'm downstairs, he waits until I go upstairs.

In my experience as a dog lover and kennel owner, it's important to remember this: Your dog has only you to focus on and will remember every habit and use it to his advantage.

He's your best friend for a reason: He knows all of your secrets.

I'm grateful my dog Diesel doesn't know how to type, or he could get me into some real trouble.

Editor's Note: David Burd is an absolute dog lover. He owns a kennel in Urbana, Md. The opinions above are his.

Follow @DavidBurdWTOP and @WTOP on Twitter.

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