Do Dogs Have Emotions? What Science Says Your Pup Feels

gray and white miniature schnauzer

The majority of 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 own emotions onto our furry friends. Although we’ll probably never be able to fully understand the intricacy of dogs’ emotions We’ve learned a few things to date.

What we know about dogs’ Emotions

It’s clear that 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 around and up, or going around in circles, or giving you an excited to throw it already look.

However, the reality is that humans, including veterinarians, aren’t 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 the faces of dogs are very communicative, as per an article that was published on animals. In contrast to wolves, dogs display an array of facial expressions. In most cases, humans can detect the basic mood of a dog which includes reactivity or happiness. But it is often difficult for people to identify subtle signals that could be related to anxiety, sadness, fear, or displeasure, as per an article that was published in Behavior Processes.

The question is how do we interpret the behavior of our dogs by using our own emotional and social lens? A good example is that most pet owners believe that their pets feel guilty engaging in naughty behavior, such as cleaning up 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 This isn’t true according to an unpublished study within Behavior Processes.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 they’re scolded by their owners regardless of whether they violated the rules. This means that your dog’s “guilty expression” is a response to your frustration. He’s feeling bad because you’re angry. It’s not due to the fact that 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 exactly 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 exactly the same. Multiple studies have proven that when pet dogs are pets and cats, it lowers the hormone cortisol (the chemical that causes stress) as well as increases oxytocin levels as well as 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 feel during a hug.

What Kind of Emotions Do Dogs Feel?

two dogs sitting on maroon area rug

Studies show that dogs are able to experience only a small range of emotions. This is comparable to the emotions toddlers have. Canines are not able to experience 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 in a more simple way. “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 are able to freely express themselves without fear of being disregarded or criticized for it.”

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

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

Before canines begin to talk (and there are those who believe they do, have you seen a Husky? ) It’s difficult to know exactly 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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