Women Are Better Than Men At Understanding Dogs, New Study Says

May 22, 2019


Previous studies have shown that our canine friends DO in fact communicate with us better than other domestic pets, while they’re also excellent at helping us beat depression, anxiety, and stress.

But what about us humans deciphering the emotions of our beloved doggos?

There is a long-shared and beautiful history between canines and humans, so what have we really managed to learn about the behaviors of our furry friends, and who is better at understanding dogs – men or women?

The Ability To Interpret Canines

The study published in the journal Royal Society Open Science experimented with various types of dog growls from three different social contexts:

  • Guarding food against other dogs.
  • The possible threat of a stranger approaching.
  • Paying tug-of-war with their owner.

The team of researchers then noted the following qualities of the recorded growls:

  • length
  • pitch
  • frequency

Now, 40 research participants had to rate the emotion of the growls, choosing between:

  • fear
  • despair
  • aggressive
  • playful
  • happiness

They also had to choose the context of the emotion based on the three social situations.

As IFL Science reports: “the participants identified 81 percent of the play growls correctly, but only 60 percent of the food guarding and 50 percent of the threatening growls. The results reveal that human listeners have a difficult time distinguishing between growls due to a threatening stranger and that of food guarding, often confusing one for the other.”

“The team also found that women and dog owners are the best at growl recognition. It is known that women have a higher emotional sensitivity and probably this higher sensitivity can help to differentiate better the context of the growls.”

Girl power!

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