Can Dogs Sense Your Feelings?

By: Sofia Bormett

The Truth About Dogs!

It totally makes sense that dogs watch us so closely, as our moods change that gives clues as to what is about to happen next. Dogs can be better observers on what's going on around us. We usually listen to language, but dogs watch actions.
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Happy or Sad?

"Our study demonstrates that dogs can distinguish angry and happy expressions in humans,"Ludwig Huber, coauthor of the paper in Current Biology and researcher at University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna's Messerli Research Institute" says MentalFloss. Ludwig did a test, he took pups and held a picture of a happy or sad person in front of them. They looked at 15 different people, but only half of their face. After the test, Dr. Huber examined that most of the dogs found the happy faces better. Overall it was 70% of the dogs picking the right expression. “It appears likely to us that the dogs associate a smiling face with a positive meaning and an angry facial expression with a negative meaning,” Huber says.
Can dogs sense emotion? - Horizon: The Secret Life of the Dog - BBC

Can Dogs Sense Emotion?

There was a dog named Katy, she was trained to sit still and wear special earmuffs. She was being tested to see if she actually had feelings for humans more than "I Want Food!" kind of feelings. They put Katy in a MRI scanner to scan her brain while her human or a stranger gave signals or food. The tests show that Katy has actual feelings of love or emotion towards her humans and family.
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Dogs Can Discriminate?

"However, to date, no study has convincingly shown that animals discriminate between emotional expressions of heterospecifics (different organism), excluding the possibility that they respond to simple cues. Here, we show that dogs use the emotion of a heterospecific as a discriminative cue. After learning to discriminate between happy and angry human faces in 15 picture pairs, whereby for one group only the upper halves of the faces were shown and for the other group only the lower halves of the faces were shown, dogs were tested with four types of probe trials: (1) the same half of the faces as in the training but of novel faces, (2) the other half of the faces used in training, (3) the other half of novel faces, and (4) the left half of the faces used in training. We found that dogs for which the happy faces were rewarded learned the discrimination more quickly than dogs for which the angry faces were rewarded. This would be predicted if the dogs recognized an angry face as an aversive stimulus. Furthermore, the dogs performed significantly above chance level in all four probe conditions and thus transferred the training contingency to novel stimuli that shared with the training set only the emotional expression as a distinguishing feature. We conclude that the dogs used their memories of real emotional human faces to accomplish the discrimination task." Says
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In The End

Conclusion: Yes, dogs can sense feelings, but they are just happy and sad. You may think they feel guilty but most likely not. They are just sad because you probably look angry or sad. Dogs better relate to their humans than strangers but they still can tell. Like how Katy was going under a test to see if she had actual attachment to her human, which she does.