Dogs are much better at reading our moods than we are at understanding theirs, according to new research from University College London. Researchers say that people's tendency to view and treat their dog in a similar manner to a young child leads them to misinterpreting its reactions. "You look at photographs of dogs being hugged by people and the dogs show objective signs of distress," cognitive neuroscience professor Sophie Scott notes, citing a study from earlier this year.
"It provokes anxiety in them: as an animal, they want to be able to move freely. And pretty much everyone's reaction to this was: 'Well, I don't think that's my dog.' It was a very good example of this asymmetry." Dogs, on the other hand, view their owners as they would the alpha animal in a wild pack. Hence, they pay closer attention to the pack leader's body language and are able to tell when they are upset.
The study concludes that the emotional intelligence of dogs is severely underestimated.
Source: The Times UK