Proof that dogs understand human emotions

Do dogs understand human emotions? Science says “yes”

Dogs are able to combine information from a number of senses to recognise human emotion, an ability that has never been seen in any other non-human creatures. Researchers have now shown that dogs can understand positive and negative emotional states, and have proven that when they respond to the expressions of people and other dogs, it’s not just “learned behaviour”. The findings were recently published in the Royal Society Journal Biology Letters.

This week, we also answered queries from listeners, as usual.

Live caller on air

Sandra: I have an 11 week old collie/ kelpie pup. I am finding it very hard to get him to eat. I have tried everything: dried food, moistened dried food, puppy sachets, bread with a little milk…. He looks skinny. Any ideas on tempting a pup to eat?

Texts from listeners

  1. We’ve moved house to a different area. How long should we wait before letting our cat outside? I’m terrified she’ll get lost or hit by a car. Anne in Kildare
  2. We have a rescue dog for one month now, a young cocker spaniel. She’s walked 3 times a day, played with, but when let her out to the garden, she’s constantly barking, at birds and other dogs. Any tips on how to curtail this irritant for neighbours? We also have a 7 year old cat which she wants to devour! Maeve
  3. Do cats get dementia?
  4. We have two westies, mother and son and both have started peeing in the house. They were house trained but have started this now. What would be causing this?!
  5. My staffie/lab cross bears her teeth in a smile & wags her tail & whole body when I come home – hilarious! Katherine, Straffan
  6. Any indication as to why a male cat has a predilection for coal? We have four rescue cats, two female and two male, and the male ones can’t get enough of licking coal. I need to close the bag tightly in the coal shed to keep them away. Apart from their comical Hitler-style moustaches I’m not sure what the other effects might be. Any idea why they do this, is there a nutrient they’re missing, or what to do? The females don’t go near the stuff. Thanks! Mary
  7. Our dog is sick with cancer and we must make the heartbreaking decision to put her down. What advice can you give us to help prepare our children

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Please note that I am unable to answer veterinary questions in comments. If you have questions or concerns about your pet's health it is always better to contact your vet.

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