Researchers have developed a virtual dog that can soon be used as an educational tool to help prevent dog bites.
Using the virtual reality (VR) experience, adults and children can recognise specific behaviours displayed by dogs.
The experience would help them approach and interact with dogs displaying signs of aggression, in a safe and controlled way.
The body language and detail shown in the virtual environment was both realistic and a truthful reflection of the real-world canine behaviour, said animal behaviour researchers, from the University of Liverpool in the UK.
As users approach the VR dog, its behaviour and body language gradually changes, and it begins to display signs of aggression, including licking its lips, lowering of the head and body, front paw lifting, growling and showing teeth.
These behaviours show how a dog may behave when it does not want to be approached.
"The next steps will look to enhance the details within the immersive environment to ensure the simulation is as realistic as possible.
"Future developments will also show a wider range of dog behaviours and the dog's reactions to user behaviour," said Iain Cant, Visualisation Team Leader of an innovative project the from the University's Virtual Engineering Centre (VEC).