Can Dogs Smell Our Emotions?
Dogs receive emotional cues from humans through our sweat glands. It is not the emotions themselves that dogs smell but the hormones we release when experiencing either happiness or fear which are known as chemosignals.
The chemosignals we release through our armpit sweat glands is adrenaline, a hormone produced by our body when we are excited or stressed. Adrenaline is produced not only by our negative emotions, such as fear and stress, but also when we are happy. The difference lies in the number of hormones produced between these two emotions.
Researchers studied both Labrador Retrievers and Golden Retrievers to find out how they both respond to these chemosignals. Sweat samples were taken from strangers and their owners under three different emotional states, namely, fearful, happy, and neutral states, which produces no sweat at all.
The dogs’ heart rates were then measured and their corresponding behaviors like their stress levels were also observed.
The study revealed that when exposed to “positive” and neutral odors, the dogs exhibited a more friendly behavior towards the stranger and had lower heart rates.
When exposed to “negative” odors, the dogs had higher heart rates and showed stressful or aggressive behaviors associated with the fight or flight response.
They also tend to stay near their owners where it is safe and are much more hesitant to approach the stranger.
It is therefore concluded that interspecies communication between dogs and humans occurs through chemosignals. The odors we emit are directly linked to the emotions of our furry pets.
Will Dogs Bite If They Sense Fear?
Yes, when dogs sense fears in people, they view this as a stressful situation. This triggers them to bite or be aggressive, especially if they are not properly socialized and exposed to various environments.
Aggressive behavior can also be a manifestation of their instinct to eliminate weaker members of their pack. When you find yourself scared in the presence of aggressive dogs, it is best to remain calm and still. Running or backing away suddenly may force them to chase and attack.
In addition, staring directly at an unfamiliar dog and yelling at it can also make a dog feel that you are invading its territory.