Kinsey researchers stumble across a remarkable dog habit while investigating the mental impact of infidelity.


Has your dog been behaving a bit needy when you get home from work? Laying her head in your lap, pawing at your leg, sticking her nose in your groin? Researchers at Kinsey say there is a high probability that she is trying to tell you that your spouse is cheating.


Discovery Made While Researching Mental Affects of Fidelity


In 2016, Researchers at Stockholm University and the University of Gothenburg in Sweden partnered with the Kinsey Institute to conduct a two-year study on the mental affects of fidelity in heterosexual couples.


Over 200 graduate students, either married or living together, agreed to participate in a study about their relationship habits. Twice a month, all participants were asked to take an anonymous, secure, online survey that questioned them about their feelings, their job or school performance, and their fidelity to their mate. They were also asked to answer some essay questions as a way to passively test the participants’ mental acuity and their overall mood.


What the researchers uncovered, however, was that participants who were in unfaithful relationships started to write about odd behaviors that their dogs were exhibiting when they returned home from school or work.


Dogs Living In Cheating Households Behaved Abnormally


Dr. Geoff Jörgen, that led the team at the University of Gothenburg, explained further. “Incredibly, 15 study participants mentioned odd behavior coming from their dogs over the course of the two year study and every one of those individuals was unknowingly in an unfaithful relationship. In their essays, which we asked them to write as a way to test changes in their mental alertness and mood, these students invariably meandered into a discourse about odd behavioral changes they were seeing in their dogs. It happened enough times that one of the doctorate candidates at Kinsey took notice and made the connection.”


“It was so preposterous that, at first, none of us believed it,” said Dr. Eileen Olivay from the Stockholm University part of the study, “but as good scientists we decided to follow through.   We looked at all the participants that had dogs and sent them an email requesting a chance to inspect their homes under the guise of looking for clues like clutter, bedroom arrangements, cleanliness, and so forth that would tell us more about the participants’ state of mental health. What we were really looking for, however, was a chance to interview their dogs.”


Armed with and experienced dog trainer, the researchers investigated the homes of the participants that had pets and made a remarkable discovery. In homes where a spouse or partner was cheating there was a very high incident rate of odd dog behavior.


Visit to Homes Confirmed Behavioral Changes


Dr. Olivay: “In homes where the mate was actively flirting with someone at school or work, 78% of the dogs did things like paw the knees of the other member of the household, stared at them, or followed the partner around the home nervously. In 85% of the households where one partner was conjugally unfaithful, the dogs did things like lick the faithful partner’s hand or stick their nose in the partner’s groin.


“It’s truly remarkable that dogs would firstly know that this sort of cheating was going on, but secondly have the where-with-all to alert the other member of the relationship about the affair.”


When asked why the dogs were interested in ratting out a member of their own household, Dr. Olivay could only speculate. “Well, this is Europe. Our relationship with dogs stretches back some 12,000 years. In ancient days, in the days of the Vikings for example, infidelity was punished by brutal beatings and even death. Perhaps the dogs that warned spouses of infidelity before it got out of control were more likely to keep households together and save relationships. Perhaps they passed that warning ability onto their progeny. I don’t know. We’re still trying to figure it out.”


Researchers Publish Cheating Spouse Dog Test


In the meantime, Drs. Jörgen and Dr. Olivay have published some illustrations of the kind of behavior dogs exhibit when spouses cheat and even formulated a scale to test for probability. You can see the images here.