Belfast research suggests dogs can smell stress – Earth – Science & Technology

Dogs can not only sniff out drugs or explosives, but according to the latest research, they can also detect stress in our breath and sweat.

Scientists from the Queen’s University of Belfast published the results of the research in a scientific journal Plos One and its continuation could help in the training of therapy dogs.

The researchers studied the behavior of four dogs – Trea, Fingal, Soot and Winnie – who did not know any of the 36 human volunteers. People were asked to rate their stress level before and after completing a difficult math problem. If their blood pressure and heart rate increased at the same time, the researchers took sweat samples and labeled their breath as “stress.”

Photo: journals.plos.org

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The dogs were then taught to point to the “stress” sample among three options (an unused piece of gauze, a sample from a stressed person, and the same non-stressed person). If they did it, they got a dog treat. The dogs then successfully identified the stressed person in more than 650 out of 700 trials. Accuracy of 90 to 96.88 percent was better than the researchers expected.

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“Research shows that dogs do not need visual or auditory cues to pick up on human stress,” said lead researcher Clara Wilson. “We had a lot of evidence that they could pick up human odors associated with certain health conditions or diseases. A lot of evidence that they sense differences in our psychological state, but we don’t have it yet,” she added.

The owner of the two-year-old cocker spaniel Trea is Helen Parksová. “The study drew attention to his ability to use his nose to ‘see’ the world. We believe that now his ability to feel the change of emotions in our home is better developed,” said Helen Parks.

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“It helps shed more light on the human-dog relationship and understand how dogs can interact with human psychological states,” added Clara Wilson.


Source: Pravda – Veda a technika by vat.pravda.sk.

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