PROVO, Utah — A study conducted by Brigham Young University professor Ross Flom, has concluded that dogs do not trust their owners when they are angry. The psychology professor carried out two experiments where he observed how dogs react to negative and positive emotions. The experiments determined that the speed of a dog’s reaction, varies based on the emotion that a human is expressing.
During the experiments, Professor Flom first observed how the dogs responded when a person used a happy tone while pointing in a particular direction. He then attempted the same experiment but instructed the human to use an angry tone while pointing. As it turns out, the dogs in the experiment reacted much quicker to the person using the happy tone. When the person with the happy tone pointed in a particular direction, the dog would go and explore the area a whole lot quicker than when an angry tone was used.
Flom concludes that if you want your dog to follow your commands faster, it is important to use a calm and/or happy voice rather than a stern voice. He says that even though a dog will still follow orders when an angry voice is used, it will significantly delay how quickly the dog reacts. Overall, Professor Flom says the study demonstrates that “dogs use our tone and emotion to determine how fast to follow an order.” The whole study can be found in Animal Cognition.