An Italian Study Examines How Dogs Pick Up On Fear And Happiness
By Catalina Barrios
How do dogs know? They follow their nose.
I can’t imagine how different my life would be without a dog in it. There has always been a dog in my family and the happiness they have brought to our lives in unbelievable. I enjoy taking my dog for walks as well as playing with her, but one of the things I enjoy the most is watching TV with her laying beside me. Your dog can soon become a very important part of your life – your loyal companion.
My dog always seems to know when I am upset, sad, or happy, even though she can’t understand a word of what I say, beyond ‘sit’. How can this be? It’s as if she is reading my mind sometimes. Dogs have a great ability of sensing our emotions.
According to a recent study out of the University of Naples in Italy, dogs can interpret visual and auditory cues that tell them what humans are feeling as well as smelling human emotions and adopting those emotions as their own. Biagio D’Aniello, zoologist at the University of Naples, says dogs’ sense of smell is far superior to ours.
D’Aniello and his colleagues had volunteers watch videos aimed to cause fear or happiness, or a neutral response and then collected samples of their sweat. Then the researchers showed these odor samples to dogs and monitored the dogs’ behaviors and heart rates.
The results were very interesting …
Those dogs exposed to fear smells showed more signs of stress than those exposed to happy smells, as well they had higher heart rates when exposed to fear samples. The more we reward our dogs with food, shelter, and affection, the better they anticipate our thoughts and feelings.
According to Psychology Today, dogs can know how we feel by just looking at our face. Dogs can distinguish between angry and happy expressions in humans. They can do this for people they know and also for faces they have never seen before. It seems that dogs associate a smiling face with a positive meaning and an angry face with a negative meaning.
Dogs can even sense when we are sick. Their sense of smell is around one million times more sensitive than ours. Your metabolism changes when you are sick and different chemicals appear in your breath. Your dog can sense when this happens.
Next time you are with your dog try this experiment: sit facing your dog and make an exaggerated happy face. You will see your dog’s happy facial expression; they will grin and relax their ears. Then furrow or wrinkle your eyebrows and look angry. Your dog’s expression will change immediately as if they are in trouble.
Dogs can know us better than what we do by sensing our emotions, making them the ultimate companions.