"This research is exciting because it measures positive and negative emotional states in dogs objectively and non-invasively, offering researchers and dog owners an insight into the outlook of dogs and how that changes," said Melissa Starling from the faculty of veterinary science at University of Sydney.

If your dog has a pessimistic personality, he expects less good things to happen and more bad things. This may make him cautious and risk averse. He may readily give up when things do not go his way because minor setbacks distress him.

"He may not be unhappy per se, but he is likely to be most content with the status quo and need some encouragement to try new things," Starling added.

Pessimistic dogs appeared to be much more stressed by failing a task than optimistic dogs.

"They would whine and pace and avoid repeating the task while the optimistic dogs would appear unfazed and continue," Starling continued.

According to her, "among the dogs we tested, we found more were optimistic than pessimistic but it is too early to say if that is true of the general dog population".

The findings were published in the journal PLOS.

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