Dog owners usually come up with their sharing that their dogs understand their feelings very well --- and to support this statement, now science has also come up with the proof. Recently, a group of animal researchers and scientists has come up with a study that confirms that dogs know when a person is angry, sad or happy and they can very well understand the difference between the two.
Ludwig Huber – a prominent researcher at Veterinary Medicine Vienna's Messerli Research Institute stated that through their studies they have found that the dogs can distinguish between angry and happy expressions in humans. He further added that the four paw animals can decipher that these two expressions have different meanings, and they can do this not only for people they know well, but even for the strangers – very well they have never contacted them before.
To dig deeper on finding how well can canines differentiate facial expressions, Huber and his team had trained the canine babies to figure out either happiness or anger by studying the pictures. The canines were shown 15 different faces – just the partial faces were shown shunning the whole picture. The aim was to see whether the dogs could understand emotions by simple looking at the eyes or the mouth. Dogs who identified the happy faces were treated with a reward and others who identified the angry faces were also rewarded with treats.
Following this, the dogs have to undergo four different tests.
In this study, researchers directed dogs to find either the happy face or the sad face, and the dogs selected the ones by pressing their noses to a touch screen.
At the end of the test, the dogs ended up selecting the angry and happy faces correctly 70 out of 100 – which can’t be taken as a luck as the trained canines picked up the right facial expressions. Above all, dogs were able to find the happy faces quite accurately and based on this, researchers acknowledge that canines can feel the emotions by the facial expressions. And, the study claimed that the dogs can apply what they’ve learnt in the new situations too. So, once a dog learns what her angry master looks like, she could apply the same to recognize an angry stranger.
Moreover, the study has also aided to find out that the dogs know that the smiling face is related to positive feelings while a frown is associated to something negative.
Overall, according to the study, we can say that the dogs used their memories of real emotional human faces to fulfil the deciphering task.