Indicators of positive emotional states in dogs

Last changed: 14 September 2023
Photo: Woman giving food to a dog in a type of cage.

Within human psychology, detailed observations of body posture and movements are increasingly being used to assess emotional states in individuals where verbal information is unreliable (such as small infants). Similar analyses of body language in animals may help in the assessment of subjective emotional states.

In this project, different methods are used in order to identify indicators of positive emotions in dogs by observing facial expressions, body language and heart rate parameters.

In the core experiment setup, dogs are trained to stay in a cubicle as different positive stimuli are presented in front of them (social and food related), and their response is recorded using different methods; frame-by-frame video analysis, motion capture and the Facial Action Coding System (DogFACS). We also record heart rate and heart rate variability.

Contact: Linda Keeling