Do Dogs Have Emotions? What Science Says Your Pup Feels

gray and white miniature schnauzer

Most pet owners take it as a given that pets are emotional; however, is this real? Are dogs emotionally bonded like us? Since the beginning of time, scientists have debated this issue. They’ve conducted experiments to discover whether dogs have a deep internal life or are simply projecting their emotions onto our furry friends. Although we’ll probably never fully understand the intricacy of dogs’ emotions, We’ve learned a few things to date.

What we know about dogs’ Emotions

Your dog is exuberant or joyful when positive events are coming up. When you get home, your dinner is ready, or you grab the ball. They love to play the game of fetch. Your dog’s tail is flapping. It’s jumping and up, going around in circles, or giving you excitement to throw it already look.

However, the reality is that humans, including veterinarians, need to be more adept at understanding the subtleties of communication between dogs, according to Lisa Radosta, DVM, veterinarian behaviorist with a board-certified certification in the Florida Veterinary Behavior Service. “They are vocal; however, dogs communicate mostly by their body.”

People are more attuned to the way they read facial expressions. The good news is that dogs’ faces are very communicative, as per an article published on animals. In contrast to wolves, dogs display an array of facial expressions. In most cases, humans can detect a dog’s basic mood, including reactivity or happiness. But it is often difficult for people to identify subtle signals related to anxiety, sadness, fear, or displeasure, as per an article published in Behavior Processes.

The question is, how do we interpret our dogs’ behavior by using our own emotional and social lens? A good example is that most pet owners believe their pets feel guilty engaging in naughty behavior, such as cleaning the sofa or even pooping in the home. This isn’t true, according to an unpublished study within Behavior Processes. Dogs exhibit similar behavior when scolded by their owners, regardless of whether they violated the rules. Your dog’s “guilty expression” responds to your frustration. He’s feeling bad because you’re angry. It’s not because he did something wrong.

Do dogs feel emotions similar to Humans?

The latest scientific research confirms what pet owners have already known that dogs feel precise like humans do. When brain scans are conducted, the brain regions that are brighter when people feel emotions have an increase in activity for dogs going through similar circumstances.

Furthermore, the chemical substances that make us feel relaxed or stressed are the same. Multiple studies have proven that when pet dogs are pets and cats, it lowers the hormone cortisol (the chemical that causes stress) and increases oxytocin levels and dopamine (feel-good hormones) for both the dog and owner. Based on this, we could conclude that dogs feel emotions like we do, particularly the feelings you think during a hug.

What Kind of Emotions Do Dogs Feel?

two dogs sitting on maroon area rug

Studies show that dogs can experience only a small range of emotions. This is comparable to the emotions toddlers have. Canines cannot share complex feelings such as contempt, pride, guilt, and shame, claims Stanley Coren, Ph.D. psychologist and the co-author of How Dogs Think.

As children, dogs view their world more simply. “They do not care about what your clothes are, or how beautiful you appear or the work you do or how much money you have in your bank account,” Mikkel Becker, a dog trainer who is the co-author “From Fearful To Fear-Free and From Fearful to Fear Free, states. “So people can freely express themselves without fear of being disregarded or criticized.”

Dogs are highly adept at recognizing people’s emotions and usually adopt the same attitude. This is called emotional contagion. Dogs also feel their feelings as a reaction to what happens. Becker claims that dogs could be able to handle:

  • Fear and anxiety and fear
  • Disgust
  • Excitement
  • Grief
  • Jealousy
  • Joy and love
  • Sadness and anxiety

Before canines begin to talk (and some believe they do, have you seen a Husky? ), It’s difficult to know precisely how our pets deal with the world. However, what we can be sure of that is the fact that our dogs can be extraordinarily adept at lifting our spirits. “In recent times, science has begun to catch up with what pet parents had always known,” Becker says. “Our dogs are deeply loved. Love deeply, take care of them, and cherish them deeply.”




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