According to science, dogs can smell emotions

Dogs are pretty darn amazing you know?! Not only are these four-legged friends man’s (and woman’s) best friend, but they are also much more developed and switched on than we give them credit for. We often think of dogs as being simple-minded or dim-witted, when, in reality, dogs can actually be wicked smart. We already know they can sniff out narcotics, help blind people, save lives, and be companions.

But, it’s also clear that there is more to a dog than even these amazing things. Science has shown that dogs are capable of things we never even knew, and would never have considered in the past. In fact, studies have shown that dogs are so amazing they can even smell our emotions! We always wondered why dogs seem so emotive and in touch with their emotional side, and now we know! Let’s look a little more at the science surrounding these furry canine pals!

According to science, dogs can smell emotions

The study

A study was carried out and published in Animal Cognition, found that dogs can use their sense of smell and attune it to read human emotion and mood. Now, the old adage goes that animals can smell fear on people, and this is actually true! Now, as well as being able to smell fear, animals can also use it to read emotion and feelings! We place more focus and emphasis on visual queues and stimulations, and we forget how much animals rely on their sense of smell. In fact, smell can do so much to change the attitude and demeanor of a dog – more on that below.

The link

Researchers from the University of Naples discovered something amazing during their works. They found that when owners smelled happy and fresh, their dogs were happy and inquisitive, and much more amenable to strangers. However, when they were afraid, the opposite was true. The dogs could smell their owners fear, and they were generally much more guarded and afraid themselves, sticking close to their owners, and not interacting with humans.

Using films

Even more studies were carried out, using samples from the movies The Jungle Book and The Shining. Owners were placed in a room, with their dogs and a stranger, after having watched each of the movies. Then sweat samples were included from the owners from each of the movies when the owner was feeling either fear or joy. It turned out that the behavior of the dogs actually mirrored that of their owners. This shows that the link between dog and owner is incredibly important, and smell is the way in which this link is formed.

Image by Joes95 | Shutterstock

You can see that there are definite correlations between the way dogs smell and the emotions they experience. It’s important for dog owners to understand that their dog can read emotions and feelings through its sense of smell. This is one of the most important traits of dogs, and the link between smells and emotions is actually pretty amazing. As you can see from the research that has been carried out, there are a lot of ways that dogs interpret smells, and they tend to mirror the emotions of their owners.