Did you know that your dog can tell you if you are happy or angry? Well, now you can know that, if you didn't know already, they can tell your moods. All dog owners know that their dog can tell their moods, but scientists have been a little skeptical. Now thanks to a research at the University of Veterinary Medicine in Vienna, Austria people have evidence that they can.
For the study, biologist Corsin Müller and his team selected a group of eleven dogs. The dogs include nine Border Collies, a Fox Terrier, and a Sheltie. They began exposing the dogs to digital images of people that were either angry or happy. Half of the dogs were rewarded for touching the screen when a happy face was shown, the other half got treats for touching those that were angry.
The interesting part was that the dogs didn't see the entire face. Some dogs were shown upper halves of the faces, while the other was shown bottom halves. Then the scientists, who published their research in the journal Current Biology on February 12th, believe that humans show their emotions on their entire face. Just by showing a half of the face, the researchers were teaching the dogs to recognize small emotions like the wrinkle between the eyes.
While the dogs were able to sense both emotions, the researchers found that those being trained to read angry expressions took longer to learn. They think it may be becasue dogs find angry faces aversive, causing them to take longer to learn. However, once the dogs realized they were getting rewarded, the fear seemed to fade. The dogs had a really good time playing the computer 'game' that the scientists had a hard time keeping them away from the touchscreens after the study was completed.