NEWS: How Dogs View Our Emotions & Its Dangerous To Throw Sticks For Dogs!

dogs view

How dogs see your emotions: Dogs view facial expressions differently

A recent study from the University of Helsinki shows that the social gazing behaviour of domestic dogs resembles that of humans: dogs view facial expressions systematically, preferring eyes. In addition, the facial expression alters their viewing behaviour, especially in the face of threat. The study was recently published in the science journal PLOS ONE.

Threatening faces evoke unique responses in dogs

The study utilized eye gaze tracking to demonstrate how dogs view the emotional expressions of dog and human faces. Dogs looked first at the eye region and generally examined eyes longer than nose or mouth areas. Species-specific characteristics of certain expressions attracted their attention, for example the mouths of threatening dogs. However, dogs appeared to base their perception of facial expressions on the whole face.

Threatening faces evoked attentional bias, which may be based on an evolutionary adaptive mechanism: the sensitivity to detect and avoid threats represents a survival advantage. Interestingly, dogs’ viewing behaviour was dependent on the depicted species: threatening conspecifics’ faces evoked longer looking but threatening human faces instead an avoidance response. Threatening signals carrying different biological validity are most likely processed via distinctive neurocognitive pathways.

“The tolerant behaviour strategy of dogs toward humans may partially explain the results. Domestication may have equipped dogs with a sensitivity to detect the threat signals of humans and respond them with pronounced appeasement signals,” says researcher Sanni Somppi from the University of Helsinki.

Results provide support for Darwin’s views of animal emotions

This is the first evidence of emotion-related gaze patterns in non-primates. Already 150 years ago Charles Darwin proposed that the analogies in the form and function of human and non-human animal emotional expressions suggest shared evolutionary roots. Recent findings provide modern scientific support for Darwin’s old argument.

Exploring canine mind with dog-friendly methods

A total of 31 dogs of 13 different breeds attended the study. Prior the experiment the dogs were clicker-trained to stay still in front of a monitor without being commanded or restrained. Due to positive training approach, dogs were highly motivated to perform the task.

The study is part of the collaboration project of Faculties of Veterinary Medicine and Behavioural Science, University of Helsinki and Department of Neuroscience and Biomedical Engineering, Aalto University. Previously, the research group of professor Outi Vainio from the University of Helsinki has discovered that socially informative objects in images, as personally familiar faces and social interaction, attract dogs’ attention.

The research group of Professor Outi Vainio explores cognition and emotion in dogs in the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of the University of Helsinki. The study has been supported inter alia by the Academy of Finland and the Emil Aaltonen Foundation.


It is dangerous for dogs to fetch sticks!

teenage girl throwing stick for dog by water ©Bubbles-CTS

Collect of the stick that punctured the tongue of Maya the dog while she was at Bishopbriggs Veterinary Centre. See SWNS story SWSTICK; Vets have urged dog owners to stop throwing STICKS for their pets because it is too dangerous. The warning from a senior vet came after one dog suffered horrific injuries during the seemingly harmless activity. Maya a smooth-haired collie punctured her tongue and displaced her voicebox when a four-inch splinter from a stick became stuck deep in her throat. Grace Webster, president of the British Veterinary Association in Scotland, said: "Most owners and dogs think throwing a stick is great fun. "But so many injuries could be avoided by throwing safe alternatives like rubber sticks from pet shops, balls or Frisbees instead.













The president of the British Veterinary Association has warned dog owners they could cause their pets “horrific injuries” if they play fetch with sticks.

Dog owners who enjoy throwing sticks for their pet in the park have been told to stop. Vets are concerned that this simple pastime can cause painful injuries ranging from tongue splinters to the piercing of vital organs.

Sean Wensley, president of the British Veterinary Association, insists throwing sticks could be “potentially life-threatening”. “We don’t want people to stop owners from playing and exercising with their dogs. We just want them to know they can protect their pets by using safe dog toys.”

One vet practice in Sandbach, Cheshire, which treats 3,000 dogs, reports seeing 20 cases of stick injuries a year. Vet Cameron Muir says the dogs have typically either been impaled or developed an abscess. “It’s a risky business throwing sticks. We often have to put dogs under anaesthetic to remove splinters, and sometimes have them in for repeat surgeries.”

Meanwhile, specialist hospitals that see the most serious cases have reported two to three referrals a month. The vet charity PDSA says it sees stick-related injuries across its 51 hospitals on a weekly basis.

The latest warning came after a collie called Maya underwent emergency surgery to remove a four-inch long stick that had punctured her tongue and displaced her voice box. Her owners initially didn’t know what was wrong and sought help after she stopped eating and became subdued.

“We took her to the vet and they sedated her and then pulled out this long stick from her throat,” owner Cathy Pryde told the Kirkintilloch Herald. “We had no idea that was the problem. There had been no blood or any other clues.”

Vets say dogs can run on to sticks that haven’t settled on the ground or have become lodged at an odd angle. The stick can then pierce soft tissues, shattering and splintering on impact. Common entry points include the mouth, chest and abdomen. Playing with sticks can also encourage dogs to chew on them. They may swallow large muddy splinters, causing serious infections.

Anecdotally, Labradors and border collies are the most likely to come in with injuries, as they are fast runners and enjoy games of fetch.

While the risk might seem low, some owners might find themselves considering switching to a ball or squeaky toy to avoid trips to the vet.

Story Source:

The above post is reprinted from materials provided by University of Helsinki.

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