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A dog is said to be a man's best friend for a reason, and a recent study proves it as it claims that dogs understand their owners better than the owners understand them.

The researchers say that dogs can actually read the mood of their owners, while people are not so good at it. In fact, they often misunderstand their pet's reactions.

According to Daily Mail, "The findings will form part of the upcoming Royal Institution Christmas Lectures, being given Sophie Scott, professor of cognitive neuroscience at University College London."

The studies suggest that a range of domesticated animals such as pets and livestock have a greater emotional intelligence than people give them credit for.

Professor Scott says that dogs are pretty good at reading us but we are pretty bad at it.

Scott told The Times: "There was a study this year that showed that dogs don't like being hugged. You look at photographs of dogs being hugged by people and the dogs show objective signs of distress."

She added: "The dogs really like being with their owners, they want to be with their owners, but they don't want to be held. It provokes anxiety in them: as an animal, they want to be able to move freely."

She believes that people misread how their dog is feeling, due to the way they view them. Owners often treat their pet dogs as small children.

The lectures will also broadly examine how much human communication has in common with that of other animals that live in groups.

Professor Scott will be elaborating on her claims during three lectures that will be telecast later this month.

The Christmas Lectures will be broadcast on BBC Four at 8 pm on December 26, 27 and 28.