Deborah Custance and Jennifer Mayer, co-authors now published in the Journal of Animal Cognition, have created experimental situations concluding that canines are more in tune to human emotions than previously thought.
The study included 18 family pets of all breeds and ages. Each dog was placed in a room with a human, in some situations their owner and other situations strangers. Once together, each person created a different emotional state whether it was talking, pretending to cry, humming strangely, etc.
Once distressed, the “majority of the dogs comforted the person, owner or not, when that individual was pretending to cry. The dogs acted submissive as they nuzzled and licked the person, the canine version of ‘there there’,” Custance confirmed.
Custance adds that “those dogs that responded sensitively to our emotional cues may have been the individuals that we would be more likely to keep as pets.”
Due to continuously rewarding our pets over the years after comforting us in times of need, we have created an empathetic bond between our furry family members and ourselves.