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dog scent, dogs smell stress, dog science

Dogs noses are for more than just looking cute and finding the snacks you hid away.

Every dog owner has the sense that their pet knows when they’re feeling big emotions, whether you’re angry and your dog knows to give you space or you’re feeling sad and they nuzzle up next to you on the couch.

However, scientists have never been sure whether pet dogs are picking up on visual or audio cues to get a sense of their owners’ emotions or if they are tuned into something more profound.

A new study published in the scientific journal PLOS One has found that when humans are stressed we have a change in body odor and our dogs take notice and act accordingly.

“The take-home message of this study is that our bodies’ psychological stress response changes the smell of our breath and sweat and that dogs can detect this change,” Clara Wilson, a Ph.D. student in the School of Psychology at Queen’s University Belfast, told Gizmodo.


via Pixabay

To find out if dogs can smell our stress, researchers took sweat and breath samples from 36 human volunteers before and after they were given a tricky math question. The humans were asked to count backward from 9,000 in increments of 17.

Doesn’t the idea just make you sweat?

Four dogs were trained to detect stress smells by learning to differentiate the scents from three different types of gauze, one that was unused, one from someone who was stressed and another from the same person before they were given the stressful math question.

After the guessing sessions, the dogs were 93.5% accurate at differentiating the stress odors from the other scents.

“This study provides further evidence of the extraordinary capabilities of ‘man’s best friend,’” the study’s first author, animal psychologist Wilson, said according to NBC News.

But that doesn’t mean dogs are only using scent to pick up on our emotional states.

via Pixabay

“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,” Wilson continued.

This is just another incredible example of how well dogs can smell. For comparision VCA Animal Hospitals says that dogs can smell anywhere from 1,000 to 10,000 times better than people.

If dogs can smell our stress, I wonder what else they are smelling on us?

The study gives us some insight into the close relationship between humans and dogs. But it may also provide new ways of training service dogs to better care for their human friends. If dogs can learn to quickly smell emotions they may become even better at taking care of humans.

“Knowing that there is a detectable odor component to stress may raise discussion into the value of olfactory-based training (e.g., taking samples from a person when relaxed and experiencing stress) and positively reinforcing the dog to attend or perform attention-seeking behaviors in response to this odor,” Wilson said.

Photo by Roméo A. on Unsplash

Cat hilariously rats out owner in front of the landlord.

Maybe it's a right of passage into adulthood or maybe some landlords discriminate against pets because they can't tell people kids are forbidden in their residence. Either way, just about everyone has lived in a rental home that didn't allow pets. Most people just abide by the rules and vow to get a pet when they find a new home.

Some people, on the other hand, get creative. I once came across a post on social media where someone claimed their pit bull puppy was actually a silver Labrador. But one woman on TikTok was harboring a secret cat in her rental that had a no pets policy, and either her cat was unaware or he was aware and was simply being a jerk.

My money is on the latter since cats are known to be jerks for no reason. I mean, have you ever left something on the counter for a few minutes? They make it their mission to knock it on the floor. So I fully believe this fluffy little meow box wanted to make his presence known in an effort to rat out his owner.

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Photo by Pixabay/Pexels

Train tracks leading into Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi death camp.

Kanye West (who has legally changed his name to Ye) has been making headlines—again—not only for his bizarre public behavior, but for blatantly antisemitic remarks he made in recent interviews.

There's no question that Ye's comments praising Hitler and Nazis and denying that 6 million Jews were killed in the Holocaust are hurtful and dangerous. There's no question that bad actors are using Ye's antisemitic comments to push their white nationalist agenda. The question is whether Ye fans would allow their admiration of his musical talents—or whatever else they like about him—to overshadow the fact that he is now regularly spewing pro-Nazi rhetoric to millions of people.

In at least one corner of the internet, fans are responding in what may be the most effective and meaningful way possible—by countering Ye's commentary with a deluge of Holocaust education and remembrance.

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This article originally appeared on 04.15.19


On May 28, 2014, 13-year-old Athena Orchard of Leicester, England, died of bone cancer. The disease began as a tumor in her head and eventually spread to her spine and left shoulder. After her passing, Athena's parents and six siblings were completely devastated. In the days following her death, her father, Dean, had the difficult task of going through her belongings. But the spirits of the entire Orchard family got a huge boost when he uncovered a secret message written by Athena on the backside of a full-length mirror.

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Pop Culture

'Princess Bride' star Mandy Patinkin shared a moving detail about the film with a grieving woman

Two souls connecting over the loss of their fathers. (Phew, grab a tissue for this one, folks.)

via Mandy Patinkin / TikTok

This story originally appeared on 08.25.21


There was an emotional exchange on TikTok between two people who lost their fathers to cancer. One was actor Mandy Patinkin, the other was TikTok user Amanda Webb.

Patinkin currently stars on "The Good Fight" but one of his most famous roles is Inigo Montoya in the 1987 classic "The Princess Bride." In the film, Montoya is a swordsman who is obsessed with confronting a six-fingered man who killed his father.

Webb recently lost her father Dan to mantle cell lymphoma. She had heard a rumor that Patinkin used his father's death from cancer as motivation in a pivotal scene where he confronts the six-fingered Count Rugen (Christopher Guest) in a duel.

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