With an accuracy of almost 94%, dogs are able to smell when people are stressed, since this physiological and emotional condition changes our breathing and sweat, says a study in the journal Plos One by researchers at the University of Queen in the UK.
Because of dogs’ extraordinary sense of smell, their close history of domestication, and their use to support human psychological conditions such as anxiety, panic attacks, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), researchers wondered if dogs might sense chemical signals to respond to the psychological states of their owners.
To do this, they collected breath and sweat samples from non-smokers who had not eaten or drunk before or after a fast-paced arithmetic task, to check stress levels based on some objective physiological measures.
People who showed increased stress with those tasks experienced increased heart rate and blood pressure, and dogs—of different breeds and mixes of breeds—were able to differentiate between samples from people who had shown that. stress and those of those who had remained relaxed during the test.
The authors, after corroborating how dogs detect odors associated with stressful situations, have stressed that this finding, in addition to delving into the relationship between humans and dogs, could have important applications for training dogs capable of helping People with anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder.
In the same journal, researchers from the University of Glasgow have published the results of another investigation, in which they have identified which behaviors of dogs their owners perceive as the most important to bond with their pets.
To gain insight into the bonds between humans and their dogs, researchers conducted a study involving 153 dog owners. Participants were asked open-ended questions about what canine behaviors they felt were especially important in establishing and maintaining their bond with their dog.
The researchers have underlined the importance of this work, as robots with social behaviors are proposed as a solution to alleviate people’s loneliness and challenges such as aging, and the possibility of developing dog-inspired robots is being explored in many places. that they can form similar bonds with humans.
That effort, they noted, requires a deeper understanding of the specific behaviors in dogs that foster those bonds with humans.
The owners described a wide range of key behaviors, and among those that they value the most in their pets they indicated those of pushing the owner with their paw or looking back at the owner during walks, gestures that conveyed perceptions such as that the dog is protective or you want to communicate with the owner.