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What do we know about measuring and interpreting emotions in dogs?

Sentience Topic: Behaviour, Emotions Guest: Professor Daniel Mills and Professor Linda Keeling  Date: 06 Nov 2014  
Global Issue: Biomedical research, Veterinarian

Join us on the 6th November 2014 at 2pm (UK time)

Humans and dogs share a long history; dogs are considered the first animals to be domesticated. It is believed that humans and domestic dogs have co-habited for over 10,000 years. In recent years, research has shown that dogs have similar brain mechanisms to humans when processing social information, particularly emotive sounds such as a baby crying. Other research has demonstrated that dogs have evolved to read and understand human facial expressions. If dogs are able to understand their owner’s emotional states, could this have implications for their welfare?

Many owners believe that they can tell how their dog is feeling, but sometimes this is inaccurate. Scientific research has started to explore indicators of emotional states in dogs. For example, some research has shown that there are subtle differences in the way dogs wag their tails depending upon their emotional state. We will discuss how such research be used to improve dog welfare. And whether such research can be used to educate people about dog behaviour?

Daniel Mills, Professor or Veterinary Behavioural Medicine, University of Lincoln, and Linda Keeling, Professor of Animal Welfare, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, will share their expertise in measuring emotional responses in dogs.

Once the discussion starts please post your questions/comments below for Daniel and Linda to answer. Alternatively send your questions to sentience@worldanimalprotection.org in advance. Our panellists will answer your questions live on the web!

Did you know?

Behavioural and neurophysiological evidence suggests that rats experience regret when they make the wrong decision. Steiner, A.P and Redish, A.D. (2014). Nature Neuroscience