James O'Brien is Leading Britain's Conversation.
Can dogs really smell when humans are afraid of them?
Stan, The Strand
Name: Steve, Bishopsgate
Qualification: Dog behaviour expert - he’s worked with dogs with behavioural problems for many years
Answer: There are no scientific tests to prove unquestionably that dogs can do so. The only way a dog will know humans are afraid of them is through body language.
Name: Professor Hal
Qualification: Mystery Hour's Best Friend
Answer: Yes, they can smell fear. It's all to do with pheromones - there's an evolutionary benefit to being able to communicate unease or danger to others, without making a noise about it. I’ve been in situations where someone’s been terrified, and they do smell different. Some studies say humans can detect the smell of fear.
I'm going to give you both a round of applause, just because I don’t want it to get awkward!