How Dogs See Your Emotions

Dogs are consistently regarded as mans best friend. Well, if best friends are known for reading your emotions and being able to know how you feel without you saying a word, what about dogs? Fortunately, ScienceDaily has released an article all about How Dogs See Your Emotions to answer these questions. In this article, dogs recognize facial expressions by looking mainly at the eyes. Indeed, studies have found that dogs facial expressions and human facial expressions are actually remarkably similar. In the study, “dogs looked first at the eye region and generally examined eyes longer than nose or mouth areas.” Certain characteristics would attract their interest more than others; “for example the mouths of threatening dogs.” But, dogs also judged the expression based on the whole, rather than just certain aspects of it. Interestingly enough, when confronted with a threatening face, the dogs tended to look longer at the dog face but looked away at the threatening human face, indicating some dependance “on the depicted species.” According to researcher Sanni Somppi, domestication may be a possible answer to this response, as it “may have equipped dogs with a sensitivity to detect the threat signals of humans and respond them with pronounced appeasement signals.” These findings also prove that Charles Darwin’s argument regarding this was, in fact correct. The study was conducted with “31 dogs of 13 different breeds attended the study” who “were clicker-trained to stay still in front of a monitor without being commanded or restrained.” The dogs were also positively motivated to do well in the study, prompting optimal results. This whole study is fascinating to me. As a dog owner, I find it amazing that my dog can, to some extent, recognize what I am feeling and respond accordingly. I also find it interesting that while, for the most part, dogs will challenge other dogs, when confronted with an angry human, they will avert their eyes, an act of submission. I do wonder, however, the extent of the dogs’ abilities to recognize emotion. For example, how many emotions can they recognize? Can we train dogs to recognize certain emotions on humans and respond accordingly? Why is submission to humans so deeply engrained in dogs? The fact that dogs can read human emotions based off their own facial expressions is quite interesting, and I wonder what discoveries will happen based off this research.

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One thought on “How Dogs See Your Emotions

  1. This is amazing! Having never owned a dog, I do not know much about them, and so I never realized they could read our emotions. I think, because they do not speak to us, we tend to belittle their intelligence, when in fact, they are very smart animals!

    Like

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