Once again demonstrating how acutely attuned to our emotions they are, our canine companions recently underwent a smelling test.
Researchers have found that dogs can detect tension in our breath and perspiration.
Four dogs were trained to “pick” one of three scent canisters out of a total of three. The dogs were owner-donated pets.
Additionally, they were able to successfully identify a sample of sweat or breath that had been taken from a stressed person in more than 650 out of 700 trials.
The study, which was conducted by researchers at Queen’s University Belfast and published in the journal Plos One, is intended to aid in the training of therapy dogs.
Dogs use smell to navigate their environment. Additionally, their exceptionally keen noses are already used to sniff out drugs, explosives, and diseases like COVID, diabetes, and even some types of cancer.
Lead researcher Clara Wilson said, “We have plenty of evidence that dogs can pick up odours from humans that are related to certain medical illnesses or diseases, but we don’t have much data that they can smell changes in our psychological state.”
The stress levels of the 36 human participants were recorded both before and after they finished a challenging math assignment.
Depending on whether their blood pressure and pulse rate had also risen, each container contained a sample of their perspiration or breath from either before or after.
Additionally, the dogs Treo, Fingal, Soot, and Winnie were given a favourite dog treat if they remained still or sat in front of the “stressed” sample.