How do humans smell dogs

Dogs can smell fear

The fact that the dog's nose is far more sensitive than the human nose is nothing new at first. However, Italian researchers now believe they have found out that dogs can recognize our mood based on smells

No animal understands people as well as the dog

No other animal can communicate as well with humans as the dog. Dogs are used as rescue animals, work as therapy or detection dogs, can help patients with diseases such as diabetes and, as guide dogs, support their masters in everyday life. So it's no wonder that dogs are also called "man's best friend".

With the help of voices, facial expressions and gestures, the animals can not only interpret our intentions, they have even learned in the course of domestication how to consciously manipulate masters in order to get what they want.

However, the fact that the four-legged friends can also smell our mood is new. Scientists at the University of Naples Federico II believe that they have found out exactly that. "Science has already shown that dogs can hear and see the signs of human feelings. But no one has yet investigated whether dogs can also pick up on human cues via their sense of smell," said zoology professor Biagio D’Aniello the New Scientist.

How dogs smell feelings

For his study, Biagio D’Aniello and his team examined the olfactory sense of a total of 40 Labradors and Golden Retrievers. To do this, the scientists initially divided the human subjects, none of whom kept dogs as pets, into three groups.

Then the researchers showed them films that elicited either feelings of happiness, fear, or a neutral reaction. The researchers from the University of Naples then took sweat samples from all participants in the three groups.

The scientists then presented these sweat samples to the dogs for an odor test. The dogs sniffed the sweat samples while their master or mistress and a stranger were present, but they did not interact with the four-legged friends.

Dogs feel stress when they smell fear sweat

The dogs reacted particularly strongly to the smell of the sweat. At the smell, the animals showed signs of stress and the scientists recorded a higher heart rate. In addition, the animals sought eye contact with their masters and mistresses and came into less contact with strangers.

From this, the researchers concluded: dogs can not only smell fear, they can also feel it on their own body.

The entire study "Interspecies transmission of emotional information via chemosignals: from humans to dogs (Canis lupus familiaris)" was published in October 2017 in the journal "Animal Cognition" and can be read there online.

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