"They showed an impressive flexibility in behavior," Marianne Heberlein, lead researcher, told New Scientist. "They're not just sticking to a strict rule, but thinking about what different options they have. They were really quickly able to differentiate between the two partners. There was no additional learning step needed."
Heberlein got the idea to study this aspect of dog behavior after watching her own pets. One dog would pretend to see something enticing in the backyard to trick the other dog into giving up the prime sleeping spot, Heberlein told New Scientist.
"This sort of thing happens quite often, but it is not well-studied," she said.