3 News: Dogs can understand human emotion – research

Researchers from the University of Otago have found that dogs are able to differentiate between a number of human emotions, including happiness, anger and sadness.

The scientists have been watching the behaviour of almost 100 dogs, and are still trying to understand to what extent the dogs understand emotions, or simply react to them.

An excerpt: (read in full here)

“”It’s an open question as to what exactly they understand. There’s no evidence to say they understand emotions the way humans do.

“”All we know is that dogs respond differently. The depth of their understanding just isn’t clear at this stage.”

“”I have heard a radio phone in show where people were all saying how their dogs understood their unhappy states and respond differently.

“”As a scientist what we are interested in is whether this is really true.””