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Mutual understanding

Everyone here knows that animals and humans have a strong relationship that is beneficial for all of us. That was proven a lot of times in research, most of them with dogs. But also other species can relate to humans, train, and work together. Humans are getting better and better at understanding animal language – we are able to learn that from scientists, but a lot of pet-owners has their own, private language and settlement with their pets.

Several years ago Lincoln University team has proven that dogs can recognise human emotions. Researchers found the dogs spent significantly longer looking at the facial expressions which matched the emotional state (or valence) of the vocalization, for both human and canine subjects.

Researcher Dr Kun Guo, from the University of Lincoln’s School of Psychology, said: “Our study shows that dogs have the ability to integrate two different sources of sensory information into a coherent perception of emotion in both humans and dogs. To do so requires a system of internal categorisation of emotional states. This cognitive ability has until now only been evidenced in primates and the capacity to do this across species only seen in humans.” Isn’t that fantastic?

It works the opposite way also! We know that humans can recognize various contextual and affective content of dog growls! That sounds so interesting, isn’t it? We can differ from food guarding, threatening, and playing.

The latest research confirms that people can also understand horses. This study investigated whether humans can accurately categorize positive and negative whinnies from the domestic horse according to known positive and negative situations. And researchers have found that we do. And that women are a bit more successful than men.

We have much more scientific-based evidence that we can communicate with animals. What are your experiences? Can you communicate with your four-legged friend?


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