A study conducted in the UK and published in journal PLOS ONE has stated that dogs can smell stress from a human’s sweat and breath.
The research reinforces that dogs are highly sensitive and intuitive animals. As per the journal, the research involved four dogs and 36 people. In every test session, each dog was given one person’s relaxed and stressed samples, taken only four minutes apart.
All of the dogs were able to correctly alert the researchers to each person’s stress sample.
Different smells through sweat
According to Clara Wilson, a PhD student at Queen’s University Belfast, the findings show that we, as humans, produce different smells through our sweat and breath when we are stressed and dogs can tell this apart from our smell when relaxed – even if it is someone they do not know.
As per the researchers, the study also helps shed more light on the human-dog relationship and adds to the understanding of how the canines may interpret and interact with human psychological states.
As part of the study, researchers collected samples of sweat and breath from participants before and after they did a difficult maths problem. They self-reported their stress levels before and after the task and the researchers only used samples where the person’s blood pressure and heart rate had increased. The dogs were taught how to search a scent line-up and alert researchers to the correct sample. The stress and relaxed samples were then introduced but at this stage the researchers did not know if there was an odour difference the dogs could detect.
Helen Parks, owner of a Cocker Spaniel who was part of the study said the learnings reinforced that dogs are highly sensitive and intuitive animals and there is immense value in using what they do best – sniffing!Agencies