How does dog understand how we feel? Use the sense of smell: According to research, dogs recognize emotions through smell.
As abstract concepts as they may seem to us, even moods such as joy and sadness have a smell, which our four-legged friend is able to perceive through the sense of smell. This is supported by a scientific study, according to which dogs recognize the smell of our emotions: here’s how.
Human emotions: dogs recognize the smell
Have you ever wondered how dog understands exactly what we feel, approaching us with a specific behavior depending on the case?
Of course, a number of concomitant factors participate in understanding our state of mind, including tone of voice, body language and even smell.
After all, we know how well the dog’s olfactory abilities are developed. What the scientists did not expect at all, however, is that Fido was able to “smell” even emotions.
In fact, when we find ourselves in particular emotional conditions, our organism produces the so-called chemosignals, also known as “emotional smells”.
The research conducted by the team of scientists has highlighted that our four-legged friends are not only able to capture them, but also to associate them with a certain state of mind and to react consequentially.
To prove their research thesis, the scholars conducted an experiment in which 40 Labrador and Golden Retriever dogs participated.
Human volunteers also participated in the test, who were asked to watch videos lasting 25 minutes, which aroused emotions such as joy and sadness.
After that, a sweat sample was collected from their armpits, which the dogs smelled.
The results of the research
The goal of the olfactory test was to verify what the reaction of the furry dogs was after perceiving the human chemosignals.
The behavior of dogs has shown that these animals recognize the smell of our emotions.
In fact, when they smelled a sample produced in conditions of happiness, the four legs proved to be sociable and playful.
On the contrary, after recognizing the smell of fear, they ran to the owner in search of comfort, showing all the typical signs of stress.
The dogs, in fact, began to yawn, bark, walk aimlessly, lick their lips, yelp and fold their ears backwards.
Not only that: in this case, the frequency of their heartbeat was much more accelerated than when the specimens perceived the chemosignals associated with happiness.