Does Your Dog Experience Feelings and Emotions?

Do dogs have emotions? It’s a common question that people ask about their furry companions, and it’s one that scientists are still trying to answer definitively. While there’s no clear-cut answer yet, there is some evidence to suggest that dogs do experience some basic emotions.

Two Dogs Feeling Happy

For example, dogs will often show signs of happiness when they’re around their favorite people or when they’re doing something they enjoy, like playing fetch or going for a walk. They may also express sadness when they’re left alone or when they lose a beloved human or canine companion. And like humans, dogs can also get angry, anxious, and scared – usually in response to real or perceived threats.

So while we don’t know for sure if dogs experience the same complex range of emotions as humans do, it’s safe to say that they do experience some basic emotions that are similar to our own. And that’s one of the things that makes them such special, furry friends.

How Do Dogs Experience Emotions?

Dogs likely experience emotions in a similar way to humans, but we don’t know for sure since they can’t tell us how they’re feeling. However, we can observe their behavior and expressions to get clues about what they might be feeling.

For example, dogs will often wag their tails when they’re happy or excited. They may also bark or whimper when they’re scared or anxious. And some dogs may become aggressive when they’re feeling angry or threatened.

So while we can’t say for certain how dogs experience emotions, we can infer from their behavior that they likely feel some of the same emotions that we do. This is one of the things that makes them such special companions.

Do All Dogs Experience Emotions In The Same Way?

it’s important to remember that dogs are individuals, just like humans, and they each have their own unique personalities. This means that some dogs may express their emotions differently than others. For instance, some dogs may be more reserved and less likely to show their emotions, while others may be more outgoing and expressive.

Dog Feels Loves For Owner

What Causes Dogs to Experience Emotions?

There is some evidence to suggest that dogs’ emotional experiences are influenced by the same things that influence our own emotions. For instance, research has shown that dogs’ brains release oxytocin, a hormone associated with positive emotions like love and affection, when they interact with their favorite humans.

Dogs may also be influenced by other factors, such as their environment and social interactions. For example, dogs who are neglected or abused are more likely to experience negative emotions such as fear and anxiety. And dogs who have positive social interactions with both humans and other dogs are more likely to experience positive emotions like happiness and joy.

So while we don’t know for sure what causes dogs to experience emotions, there is some evidence to suggest that they’re influenced by similar factors as humans. This is one of the things that makes them such special companions.

How Does Understanding Dog’s Emotions And Feelings Help Us Care For Them Better?

Understanding your dog’s emotions and feelings can help you better care for them in a number of ways. For instance, if you know that your dog gets anxious when left alone, you can take steps to make them feel more comfortable when you’re away, such as providing them with voices from the TV or hiring a dog sitter.

Similarly, if you know that your dog gets scared during thunderstorms, you can take steps to help them feel more secure, such as staying with them during the storm or providing them with a ThunderShirt.

Finally, if you know that your dog gets excited when meeting new people, you can help them have positive experiences by introducing them to new people gradually and in positive situations.

So while we may not know exactly what dogs are feeling, understanding their emotions can help us better care for them.

What Are Some Ways We Can Help Our Dogs When They’re Feeling Emotional Or Upset?

There are a number of things we can do to help our dogs when they’re feeling emotional or upset. For instance, if your dog is anxious, you can try to provide them with a safe space, such as a crate or quiet room, where they can feel secure. You can also give them calming signals, such as petting them in a slow and gentle way.

If your dog is scared, you can try to reassure them and make them feel safe. This may include providing them with a hiding place, staying close to them, and speaking in a calm and soothing voice.

If your dog is angry or aggressive, you can try to defuse the situation by avoiding eye contact, speaking calmly, and keeping your body relaxed.

Sad Dog

What They Thought In More Ancient Times

There is still much debate among modern philosophers about whether or not animals, including dogs, can experience emotions. They tended to line up on opposing sides. Some argue that emotions are complex mental states that require self-awareness and language skills, which animals lack. Others argue that we cannot assume that animals lack emotions simply because they cannot express them in the same way that humans do.

Throughout the classical era, the dog was revered as a noble, devoted, and faithful animal, yet he was still only a dog. There was no attempt made in the slightest to give him human traits like feelings. Instead, dogs were praised for their accomplishments as dogs, such as how successfully they protected the home, hunted, cared for herds of sheep, etc.

The philosopher Aristotle believed that animals were “without reason” but believed that they did have “sensations” — they could feel if you cut them or hurt them (of course they can!). But as far as having human-type emotions? No.

St. Augustine also felt that animals did not possess human-like emotions, as did Plato. However, throughout their times, “emotions” as we know them now were not highly regarded. People’s passions were seen as suspect. Giving way to one’s emotions was considered a terrible thing. As a result, showing one’s feelings was frowned upon. Philosophers clearly didn’t want humans to share this trait with animals. In addition, animals were often devalued. They were simply considered to be beasts.

The philosopher Descartes denied that animals had feelings, but then he was hard-pressed to prove that he himself existed. John Locke said that animals are capable of expressing their own thoughts and emotions. Animals, according to Rousseau, are sentient creatures and hence capable of emotion. In Bentham’s view, animals are capable of suffering, thus they must be capable of feeling. In Schopenhauer’s view, animals were capable of feeling.

Philosopher with Dogs

Image Source: https://www.lookingforwisdom.com/diogenes/

Dogs haven’t changed much since Aristotle or Homer, but our understanding of feelings has. Today, we place a higher value on feelings and tend to see them in our canine companions. When we think that our pets really care about us, we are pleased. We may be encouraging our pets to express greater emotions by rewarding them. We may actually be training our dogs to be more loving toward us by providing them with positive reinforcement.

So far, there is no definitive answer to this question. However, as our understanding of animal behavior and cognition continues to grow, we may eventually be able to say for sure whether or not dogs experience emotions. Until then, we can only speculate based on what we know about their behavior and physiology.

Some of the Emotions We See in Dogs Are:

Happiness

Happiness is the emotion most people think of when they think of dogs, and it’s one of the emotions that dogs experience the most. Dogs may feel happy for a variety of reasons, such as being reunited with their owner, playing with a favorite toy, or receiving treats.

Dogs who are feeling happy may show signs of excitement, such as wagging their tail, panting, and bouncing around. They may also try to get close to the person or thing they’re happy about. If you think your dog is feeling happy, there’s no need to do anything; just enjoy their company and be sure to give them plenty of love and attention.

Guilt and Remorse

Let’s consider guilt. I’m sure that no one would dispute the fact that a dog understands when he’s done something wrong, and will hang his head and tuck his tail between his legs in shame. But I’m also sure that the same dog owners know that same dog does not feel remorse! Once your shaming tone changes, or you open a can of food, or head towards the door to let them go outside, it’s all happy and excited to see you again, and the incident is forgotten and will likely be repeated (chewing shoes, getting into the trash, etc.)

Guilty Dog

Loyalty

Though not exactly an emotion, loyalty is a feeling that is very strong in dogs, and is one of the things that makes them such special companions. Dogs have been called “man’s best friend” for centuries, and loyalty is one of the main reasons why. Dogs are fiercely loyal to their families, and will do anything to protect them. This loyalty is often reciprocated by their owners, who love and care for their dogs like they would any other member of the family.

The most eloquent description of a dog’s loyalty in ancient literature may come from Homer, who tells the story of Argus, the old dog of Odysseus, who refused to die for 20 years until he saw his master safely return to his home. He was the only one who recognized Odysseus, an old man and in disguise, when he finally returned from the Trojan War. The old dog saw his master, let out a whimper, wagged his tail and died on the spot. He was considered a great dog.

Jealousy

Dogs can also feel jealous, though this emotion is often misunderstood. Jealousy in dogs is not the same as envy, which is when you feel resentful towards someone because they have something you want. Rather, jealousy in dogs is more like possessiveness, and is often seen in dogs who are very attached to their owners. For example, a dog may become jealous if they see their owner talking to another person, or if they see their owner paying attention to another dog.

Dogs who are feeling jealous may show signs of aggression, such as growling or snapping. They may also try to push the other person or animal away, or may try to get between their owner and the person or animal they’re jealous of. If you think your dog is feeling jealous, it’s important to stay calm and avoid rewarding their behavior with attention. Instead, give them a cue to do something else, such as sit or lie down, and praise them when they obey.

Fear

Fear is another emotion that dogs experience, and it is often the root of aggression. Dogs may be afraid of anything from loud noises to unfamiliar people or animals. It’s important to remember that fear is a natural emotion, and that it’s normal for dogs to be afraid of some things. However, if your dog is excessively afraid or if their fear is causing them distress, it may be a sign of an underlying problem.

If you think your dog is feeling afraid, there are a few things you can do to help them. First, try to identify what they’re afraid of and avoid exposing them to it if possible. If they’re afraid of loud noises, for example, bring them inside during fireworks displays or make sure they’re in a quiet room when the vacuum cleaner is running. Finally, don’t forget to give them plenty of love and reassurance when they’re feeling scared.

Scared Dog Hiding Under Blanket

Anxiety

Anxiety is similar to fear, but it’s a more generalized feeling of unease or worry. Dogs with anxiety may pant, pace, or tremble, and they may also try to hide or escape from the object of their fear. Anxiety can be caused by anything from separation from their owner to a change in their routine.

Like fear, anxiety is a natural emotion, and it’s normal for dogs to feel anxious at times. However, if your dog’s anxiety is severe or if it’s causing them distress, it may be a sign of an underlying problem. If you think your dog is feeling anxious, there are a few things you can do to help them. First, try to identify what’s causing their anxiety and avoid exposing them to it if possible. If they’re anxious about being left alone, for example, don’t leave them alone for long periods of time. Secondly, provide them with plenty of love and reassurance when they’re feeling anxious. Finally, consider using a calming aid such as a ThunderShirt or CBD oil to help them cope with their anxiety.

Anger

Though it’s often thought of as a negative emotion, anger is actually a normal and natural emotion that dogs experience. Dogs may feel angry for a variety of reasons, such as being frustrated, threatened, or even just feeling uncomfortable.

Dogs who are feeling angry may show signs of aggression, such as growling, barking, or snapping. They may also try to push away or escape from the thing they’re angry about. If you think your dog is feeling angry, it’s important to stay calm and avoid rewarding their behavior with attention.

An Angry Dog

Sadness

Sadness is another emotion that dogs experience. Dogs may feel sad for a variety of reasons, such as the loss of a loved one – be it a human companion or another pet, being separated from their owner, or being in an unfamiliar place.

Dogs who are feeling sad may show signs of depression, such as lethargy, loss of appetite, and difficulty sleeping. They may also seem withdrawn or uninterested in activities they normally enjoy. If you think your dog is feeling sad, it’s important to provide them with plenty of love and reassurance. You may also want to consult with your veterinarian to see if there is an underlying medical problem causing their sadness or depression.

Love

Does your dog actually love you, or do they just think of you as the hand that feeds them? While we can’t know for sure what’s going on inside our dog’s heads, there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that dogs do indeed experience love.

Dogs who are feeling love may show signs of affection, such as leaning against their owner, licking them, or wagging their tail. They may also try to get close to the person they’re feeling love for. Dogs may feel love for their owners, other dogs, or even other animals.

Though it’s often thought of as a human emotion, love is actually an emotion that dogs experience as well.

Dog and Cat Friends

As you can see, dogs are capable of experiencing a wide range of emotions. While some of these emotions, such as fear and anxiety, may be negative, others, such as happiness and love, are positive. It’s important to remember that all of these emotions are normal and that dogs experience them just as we do. This is one of the things that makes them such special companions.

For millennia, people have pondered the question of whether dogs have feelings and emotions. The answer seems to be a definite yes, as most dog owners will agree.  But whether those feelings are the same as the feelings that a human has may be unknowable. What emotions do you think your dog has shown?

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