WATCH: A dog participates in an experiment designed to determine whether or not dogs can distinguish between happy and angry faces.
TORONTO – Have you ever thought your dog could sense your mood? Turns out, you may be right.
A new study that appeared in the journal Current Biology found that dogs can tell the difference between angry and happy faces.
Prior to the experiment, the researchers trained dogs to discriminate between images of the same person making either a happy or angry face. During the experiment, which used 15 photographs, the dogs were only shown the upper or lower half of the face.
The researchers found that the dogs were able to pick out the happy or angry face more often than they’d expect if it was just a guess.
“Our study demonstrates that dogs can distinguish angry and happy expressions in humans, they can tell that these two expressions have different meanings, and they can do this not only for people they know well, but even for faces they have never seen before,” says Ludwig Huber, senior author and head of the group at the University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna’s Messerli Research Institute.
“We expect to gain important insights into the extraordinary bond between humans and one of their favorite pets, and into the emotional lives of animals in general,” Müller says.
No word about a study on cats. Because, well, cats just don’t care whether or not you’re happy.