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Recognize mood: dogs know how we are


Sometimes dogs seem to read minds. They seem to recognize exactly what mood their heart person is in: sad, angry, happy or relaxed. But how do the four-legged friends do it? This Cavalier King Charles Spaniel senses that his owner is doing well - Shutterstock / bane.m

One thing is certain: dogs have much finer senses than humans. Is that perhaps the reason why four-legged friends can recognize the mood of their mistress or master? Or is it a learned behavior that can be explained by dog ​​intelligence?

Do dogs have a sixth sense for your mood?

Dogs have an excellent sense of smell, sensitive hearing and a fine sense of touch. Some dog lovers are also convinced that the animals have a sixth sense. The reason for such assumptions are the amazing abilities of the dogs in the area of ​​empathy, i.e. empathy. When we are sad, angry, excited or calm, a dog apparently always feels the mood and reacts to it.

It is not so easy to investigate whether the ability to empathize in dogs is due to a sixth sense or from the interaction of their five senses. After all, the dogs themselves cannot tell how they recognize people's moods - they just do it.

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Facial expressions and voice reveal feelings

Nonetheless, there are now a number of studies that suggest that dogs use all of their senses to identify the mood of their people. Above all, the eyes and ears seem to play a major role, because according to a recent experiment, the four-legged friends use facial expressions and voice to interpret feelings. Researchers from the University of Lincoln in the UK and the University of São Paulo presented dogs with photos of strangers and dogs with friendly or angry facial expressions. They played words in a language unknown to the dogs, which were colored by positive or negative feelings or spoken in a neutral tone. Meanwhile, the scientists measured the length of time that the dogs paid attention to the pictures.

The animals looked at the photos longer, in which the tone and facial expression matched. The researchers then concluded that the dogs had noticed that facial expressions and voice betray the same mood. However, the sense of smell and touch were not included in the experiment, so it cannot be ruled out that they also play a role in recognizing feelings of alien organisms.