Science Says Your Dog Adopts Your Mood, So That's Another Reason To Be Happy

by Rosey Baker

I have two dogs who I consider to be better friends than any human I've ever met -- and I've met a LOT of cool humans.

But dogs are special.

Ever since I was a kid, I've loved them, so it's no wonder I grew up and became obsessed with rescuing these majestic little beasts as a grown-up.

In fact, I can name five of my immediate friends today who became proud dog owners almost against their will because of my mission.

But if you asked me why I love dogs so much, I could never really give you a definitive answer.  There's just a connection there. I've always sworn they can read our minds -- and believed it -- but now I have proof.

A study published this week in Animal Cognition journal found dogs are just as likely to catch the feelings of humans as they are of other dogs.

Annika Huber, a researcher at the University of Vienna's Clever Dog Lab led the study, which observed the behavior of 53 dogs, as researchers played recorded sounds of humans and dogs, both positive and negative.

The researchers used recordings of human beings laughing and crying, dogs playfully whining or barking, and neutral sounds like rain, or crickets chirping.

The dogs had behavioral reactions to emotional sounds.

The study found a marked behavioral change in response to the emotional sounds, regardless of whether or not they came from a human or another dog. According to Science of Us, when the emotional sounds were played, the dogs would get up to approach the researcher playfully, or look over repeatedly at their owner.

Interestingly enough, the researchers also found there was a marked ability in the dogs to be able to distinguish between the happy sounds and the sad ones.

So if you've ever looked down at your dog and asked them if they can tell how you're feeling, now you have your answer.

They absolutely can, and they're picking up whatever you're putting down.

For all the credit they get, why are scientists always the last ones to figure out what the rest of us have known for all time?

Citations: Your Dog Can 'Catch' Your Feelings (NY Mag)