A dog’s nose knows when you’re stressed, according to a new study from Queen’s University Belfast.
The study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, found that dogs can tell the difference between a stressed human and a calm one by smell.
Researchers discovered this canine skill by presenting dogs with different human sweat and breath samples — some came from individuals who just attempted math problems in front of an audience, and others came from the same group of people before the math challenge. Four of the dogs involved in the study could sniff out the stressed math solver samples, likely picking up the subtle changes stress can have on sweat compounds.
“While it is likely that in a real-life context, dogs are picking up on our stress from a variety of context cues, we have shown using a laboratory study that there is a confirmed odor component that is likely contributing to dogs’ ability to sense when we are stressed,”