Dogs avert eye-contact with angry humans

(Mirror Daily, United States) – There have been studies that suggested dogs can read human emotions so dogs know when you are angry and have a way to handle it.

Our canine friends are most probably the ones who get to be closest to us from the animal kingdom. Cats are pretty much oblivious to everything except them and other animals don’t have such a close relationship with us.

Dogs show love to their owners. They wait anxiously for you to come home, they want you to feel good and they can sense when something is wrong. Many dogs feel when you’re sad and they often try to comfort you.

But they also know how to behave when you’re angry. As dogs normally try to appease humans, they tend to look away when their owner is upset or angry. In this way, they try to avoid a conflict.

Although when it comes to their fellow canines they have no problem staring into their eyes, humans are a completely different “breed” that they need to be careful with.

According to a new study conducted by a team of researchers from the University of Helsinki, dogs always avoid to look into the eyes of a human when they feel the human is angry. The study included 31 dogs which were trained to sit in front of a video screen. They were shown facial photos with neutral, pleasant and threatening expressions of both humans and other dogs. Cameras tracked the subjects’ eye movements.

In order to understand the emotions portrayed in the images, dogs looked at the eyes. When it came to threatening expressions of other dogs they looked more at the mouth, while when they observed the image of an angry human, they averted the gaze and looked somewhere else.

Scientists believe that this way of avoiding conflict may have helped dogs develop a stronger bond with humans over time.

The findings of the research also suggest that in general dogs don’t focus on a single feature to recognize an expression but rather piece together information from all facial features they can observe. This is also the way humans read emotions so it looks like there’s another thing that brings our canine friends even closer to us.

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