Pet owners have always exclaimed how bright and intuitive their dogs are. Well, this new study may shed some new light into just how much your beloved four legged companion really does know exactly what mood you are in. According to researchers in Hungary, dogs have voice areas in the same part of their brains that humans do. This would indicate that both species can understand vocal tones that express different emotions, like happiness, anger, distress, or fear. A new study published on February 20 led by Attila Andics from the MTA-ELTE Comparative Research group has proven a canine’s ability to read and understand human emotions and vocal tone. The study used MRI machines to scan the brains of 11 dogs. Andics and the crew had to first train six Golden Retrievers and five Border Collies to lie still on the machine. They did not use sedation on the dogs. Researchers were able to compare the brain functions of humans with non-primate animals, showing how dogs are innately sensitive to the various sounds of emotion. The researchers ran a neuroimaging experiment on both dogs and humans to capture their brain activity while listening to about 200 dog and human sounds. The results were remarkable in that both dog and human response activity occurred in similar locations in the brain. The primary auditory cortex within the brain also responded more to happy sounds than unhappy in both species. However, don’t confuse this with emotions such as guilt, revenge, spite, etc. People think that dogs have these feelings because they look guilty after discovering they chewed on the slipper. Dr Loesner, DVM cautions that, “we have to be careful to not assign human characteristics and emotions to our pets.” Don’t get rid of your dog because you think they are being spiteful when they chewed up the house. Basically, you are not addressing the root issue of possibly separation anxiety, loneliness, or boredom. Dog training can help you to address those issues. Bottom line: This study does a great job of pointing out that dogs have the same ability as humans to detect human emotions in the voices of people they listen to. However, don’t mistake this with assigning negative characteristics to your dog. Don’t get rid of your pet for negative emotional reasons.