START A PETITION 25,136,189 members: the world's largest community for good
START A PETITION
x

Your Dog Likes the Way You Smell

Your Dog Likes the Way You Smell

Dogs’ noses are thousands of times more sensitive than ours, but what scent will get your dog the most excited?

Your scent, according to researchers at Emory University.

Gregory Berns, director of Emory’s Center for Neuropolicy, led a team of scientists to conduct the first brain-imaging study of dogs responding to biological odors.

The experiment involved 12 dogs of various breeds that had been trained to enter an MRI scanner while awake and unrestrained.

As their brains were scanned, the dogs were presented with five different scents on gauze pads. The scent samples came from the subject dog, a dog the subject hadn’t met, a dog that lived in the same household, a human the subject had never met, and a human that lived in the dog’s household.

All five scents elicited a similar response in the parts of dogs’ brains involved in detecting smells.

However, the responses were much stronger for the scents of familiar humans. Getting a whiff of a familiar dog produced the next strongest brain response.

“While we might expect that dogs should be highly tuned to the smell of other dogs, it seems that the reward response is reserved for their humans,” Berns said in a news release. “Whether this is based on food, play, innate genetic predisposition or something else remains an area for future investigation.”

Berns was surprised to find that dogs that had received service or therapy training showed greater activation in the caudate region of their brains than dogs that hadn’t.

In humans, the caudate region is associated with decision-making, motivation and emotions.

It’s unclear if this difference is genetic or if it’s a result of the dogs’ training.
“We plan to do further research to determine whether we can use brain-imaging techniques to better identify dogs that are optimal to serve as companion animals for the disabled,” Berns said.

article by Laura Moss

Photo: Michael Nagle/Getty Images


Read more: Dogs, Pets

have you shared this story yet?

go ahead, give it a little love

Kara, selected from Mother Nature Network

Mother Nature Network's mission is to help you improve your world. From covering the latest news on health, science, sustainable business practices and the latest trends in eco-friendly technology, MNN.com strives to give you the accurate, unbiased information you need to improve your world locally, globally, and personally all in a distinctive thoughtful, straightforward, and fun style.

94 comments

+ add your own
10:09AM PDT on Aug 10, 2014

I think of dogs as unconditional love...

3:52PM PDT on May 26, 2014

Interesting. Thanks for the article.

9:20PM PDT on May 11, 2014

Thank you!

12:20PM PDT on May 10, 2014

interesting

12:36PM PDT on May 9, 2014

Interesting thanks

11:54AM PDT on May 8, 2014

Thanks for sharing.

3:13AM PDT on May 7, 2014

ty

10:47AM PDT on May 6, 2014

I find this hardly surprising. Thanks for confirming my instinctive knowledge of the subject, based also on experience, if not experimentation. :-)

4:40AM PDT on May 6, 2014

arigato

8:03PM PDT on May 5, 2014

My mistake, MRI scans are not invasive. whew

add your comment



Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

people are talking

Don't worry. Your health insurance will change and your Dr. will no longer accept your health insura…

I lived where mine blew apart and I found it in a tree....!

Unfortunately in our case, there is nothing affordable about the "Affordable" Care Act. My husband'…

Good ideas, apart for us personally hiding the food. As soon as ANY cupboard or fridge door is open…

“Information is not knowledge. Knowledge is not wisdom. Wisdom is not truth. Truth is not be…

Story idea? Want to blog? Contact the editors!



Select names from your address book   |   Help
   

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.