Emotions experienced by dogs

Image Source: Pixabay.com

For most pet owners, reading their dogs’ emotions come easily. If your dog wags its tail, you automatically assume it is happy to see you. If your dog growls at another person, or another dog, it is apparent that she is angry towards that person or the other canine. The emotions which can be deduced from such behavior could be wrong. Whether it is possible for humans to decode emotions in dogs remains a matter of controversy.

Older thoughts

In the distant past, it was assumed that dogs lived rich mental lives and have feelings like humans and even possess the capability to comprehend human language. The steady progress of science proved this assumption to be a mistaken one. It is understood that both humans and dogs are complex machines which followed due chemical processes and mechanical rules. Researchers now do not assert any existence of higher level mental functioning in dogs. If a dog could think, the religious concept of animals surviving without souls will not hold water and as a consequence, there would be multiple problems.

Dog emotions and a human child

That dogs have emotions are beyond any doubt. Any dog will get angry if you challenge it. The canine snaps or snarls at you. It could also be afraid and run away with a whimper. Many behavioral theorists say the animal is simply acting and doing what it is programmed to do. Proponents of this theory say dogs are programmed to run away if they see something which they cannot tackle or charge if it sees someone or something which it feels can be conquered.

Science has shown dogs to have similar brain structures like humans. It means they can produce the same emotions as humans. Canines have the oxytocin hormone which in humans is involved with affection and love. It should not be assumed that dogs have emotions too.

Researchers have discovered that the emotional level of a dog is approximately equivalent to a two-year-old human child. This is applicable to both emotions and mental abilities. Like two-year-olds, the emotions of dogs are the same as humans, but not all of them are present. For a human infant, excitement is the sole emotion. The outward show of this emotion could be on a wide scale, from near calm to a frenzy. Other then excitement, dogs also have anger, fear, and disgust, Love may also occur in dogs but like human babies, it comes when both the species grow older. Pride and shame take much longer to appear. Guilt comes much late. This sequence of development must be understood when it comes to the matter of understanding dogs. It means that only a mature dog can have emotions like shame, guilt, and pride.

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