Dogs, known for their explosives and drug-sniffing skills, can also smell stress from human sweat and breath, new research shows.
According to the scientists, the ability could be useful in training service and therapy dogs.
Researchers collected sweat and breath samples from 36 people before and after they solved a difficult math problem.
Each of them reported their stress level before and after the task, and the researchers used only the samples where the person’s blood pressure and heart rate had increased.
When presented with samples, all four dogs – Treo, Fingal, Soot and Winnie – were able to correctly identify the stress samples.
Clara Wilson, a PhD student at Queen’s University Belfast’s School of Psychology, said: “The results show that as humans we produce different smells through sweat and breath when we’re stressed and dogs can distinguish this from our smell when relaxed – even if it’s someone you don’t know.
“Research shows that dogs do not need visual or auditory cues to perceive human stress.
“This study provides evidence that dogs can smell stress through breath and sweat alone, which could be useful in training service and therapy dogs.
“It also helps shed more light on the human-canine relationship and contributes to our understanding of how dogs interpret and interact with human psychological states.”
One of the super sniffers was Treo, a two-year-old cocker spaniel.
His owner, Helen Parks, said: “The study confirmed to us that dogs are highly sensitive and intuitive animals.”
The results will be published in PLUS ONE Diary.
https://www.independent.ie/news/dogs-are-highly-sensitive-and-intuitive-animals-now-research-shows-they-can-smell-if-were-stressed-42025242.html “Dogs are highly sensitive and intuitive animals” – now research shows they can smell when we’re stressed