Can Dogs Detect Our Emotions and Feelings?

Can Dogs Detect Our Emotions and Feelings?

Scientists have determined that dogs can really tell how we are feeling. Below is the article.

 

Can dogs tell when we are happy, sad or angry?

As a dog owner, I feel confident not only that I can tell what kind of emotional state my pets are in, but also that they respond to my emotions. Yet as a hard-headed scientist, I try to take a more rational and pragmatic view. These personal observations seem more likely to result from my desire for a good relationship with my dogs.
The problem is that studying emotional interpretations and responses across two interacting species is very difficult. For one thing, you can’t ask a dog how it’s feeling. So while many people can describe how their dogs respond to their emotional states – typically in ways we humans consider appropriate and perhaps even desirable – scientific evidence and explanation for this ability has mostly been elusive.

However, a new study, published in the journal Biology Letters, suggests that dogs really can recognise emotions in both humans and other dogs using visual and audio cues. Scientists have already documented chimpanzees’ and Rhesus macaques’ ability to identify emotional states among their own kind. But this is the first study to demonstrate that any animal can tell how members of another species are feeling.

Dogs can also read each other’s emotions.

What we did know already was that dogs can discriminate between different human facial expressions and sounds associated with specific emotional states. By investigating the time dogs spent gazing at images of people and dogs paired with specific sounds, the new study attempted to explore whether dogs could recognise entire emotional states. Each image was paired with an emotional sound that either matched or did not match the facial expression in the picture. Where dogs gazed longer at images with matching sounds, this was interpreted as an ability to put the two things together and identify the emotional state.

One key element of the study was that the dogs did not have prior training or familiarisation with the task, suggesting an intrinsic ability to recognise emotions. But, interestingly, the study dogs did have a more significant response to conspecific (dog) stimuli than to heterospecific (human) stimuli.

It’s well understood that dogs are supremely good at reading and responding to human body language and possible intent (just ask anyone who has picked up a dog lead or dog bowl in front of their pet). Dogs can also demonstrate strong behavioural attachments to owners and react differently in cognitive tests based on the presence and behaviour of the owner. This suggests that dogs have evolved the ability to use their human companions as social support systems in unfamiliar situations. So the ability to identify human emotional cues would be a significant addition to this skill.

However, dogs are also likely to have learned that if they respond to their owners’ sounds and facial expressions they will be treated in a certain way. The classic example is of a dog that has disobeyed an order displaying what appears to be a “guilty face”, as a way of appeasing its owner when scolded. How much this learned behaviour plays a role in dogs’ responses to human emotions is, I suspect, something that we can’t fully determine, although the study goes some way to acknowledge canine abilities in this area.
Humans and dogs have lived and evolved together for at least 15,000 years and probably much longer. Given this, and the close bond that many people have with their dogs, it may not come as any surprise that dogs appear to have developed this skill in recognising human emotions.

This ability is likely to have been very important in helping dogs become accepted by humans and integrate into our society and culture, bringing enormous benefits on both sides. Dogs are likely to receive greater care from their human companions if their bond is enhanced by the dogs’ apparent empathy. The humans, meanwhile, receive unconditional companionship and emotional validation from their canine counterpart. Undoubtedly, this study further adds to our understanding and appreciation of the cognitive abilities of “man’s best friend” and highlights the mutually beneficial relationships we often have with dogs.

 

 

Documents You Need to Have for  Your Pet

Documents You Need to Have for Your Pet

Living in Florida, we are exposed to possible hurricanes, tornadoes and flooding. These potential natural disasters could displace our pets or cause us to have to evacuate where we live. Having these eight documents are essential to preserve your pet’s well being. The following article by Carol Bryant.

 

In a day and age of electronic everything, from iPads to Android phones, there is still a time and place for documents that are tangible, touchable and shareable. There are several documents all pet parents should have on hand to ensure their pets’ wellbeing. Here are 8 documents that every pet parent should keep safe.

1. Rabies Certificate or Waiver

Dogs and cats are generally given a tag to wear after a rabies vaccination is administered. The certificate/proof of rabies vaccine administration is a critical document. The required frequency of rabies vaccinations varies from state to state. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), some states are also beginning to provide exemptions for vaccination requirements if medically necessary as determined by a veterinarian. If this applies to your pet(s), ensure the waiver is a document you have easily accessible.

2. Latest Vaccine Records

Although veterinarians keep this information in their paper and/or electronic files, you should have a copy, too. Admittance to pet-friendly hotels, or getting into certain expos and pet-friendly events, often depends on current vaccination records. If your pet receives an annual blood titer level to show levels of certain vaccines within the bloodstream, have this document at your disposal as well.

3. Proof of Ownership

Although no one ever believes it will happen to them, sometimes divorce or separations happen and custody battles over pets ensue. Since pets are viewed as property in the eyes of the law, whoever can prove they own the pet(s) will most likely receive the rights to keep and maintain that pet. Proof of ownership can be an AKC registration record or something more formal that is legal and notarized. If you share your pets with someone else, ensure ownership is clear in writing.

4. Trust

The only documents that are legally enforceable are those that are prepared accurately prior to your demise. If something happens to you, a trust outlines where your pet goes, who cares for him and what funds are available. A will has many pitfalls that allow for loopholes when a pet’s wellbeing is considered. Will instructions are not enforceable in most cases. With its many pitfalls, a legal trust provides a host of additional protections and advantages. The American Bar Association is a great place to start for legal direction, but always consult with an attorney for such an important document. Never assume a verbal agreement will hold up in a court of law. Get it in writing and have the document secured where loved ones can obtain it upon your passing.

5. License

Many states require a dog or cat license. In addition to a standard tag that most states issue for the pet to wear, keep any document handy that is sent your way by the state/county.

6. Emergency Numbers

Most folks keep emergency numbers in their cell phone, but what if you are hurt or your pet is with a sitter and an accident occurs? In addition to the Pet Poison Helpline (or another reputable poison control center for pets), keep a handy list of phone numbers including the veterinarian, emergency veterinarian and anyone you need to contact in the event of an emergency. We keep a laminated list on the refrigerator and on our home office bulletin board.

7. Photographs

Always have a current printed photograph of your pet along with a photograph of you with your pet handy. Cell phones are great for snapping photos, but in a pinch, having a copy of your pet in a nice glossy 5 x 7 or larger is best to have in the event of an emergency. Nobody wants their pet to go missing, but being prepared will help in the event your pet disappears.

8. Emergency Evacuation and Accommodations Plan

Though I never thought I’d need to utilize emergency evacuation plans, I was grateful to have them when flood waters threatened my home. During a critical time when local authorities implemented a mandatory evacuation, my list of items came in handy. I was able to gather all belongings needed, get them safely stowed away, and leave the area in a hurry.
Bonus points if you have a list of pet-friendly hotels in place ahead of time. When we had to evacuate, a 3-hour ride to find pet-friendly lodging occurred. Have more than one spot in mind incase your first option doesn’t work out.