Dog’s experience a wide range and depth of emotions. Their emotional lives are no less rich than ours, just different. While some dog emotions are the same as humans they don’t necessarily experience these emotions the same way that we do.
Darwin believed that animals have emotions and termed the universal emotions of fear, disgust, anger, sadness and happiness as primary emotions. These emotions we are born with are hardwired and require no conscious thought to experience.
Some believe that secondary emotions involve an understanding which is too complex for a dog. Experts will disagree arguing that dogs do have the capacity to experience some secondary emotions such as guilt, pride and jealousy. Some Academics believe that self-consciousness is required to feel guilt, pride, and shame. Minority of academics support the idea that some animals do have sufficient self-consciousness to experience more than the basic set of primitive emotions. Dogs have been described as capable of compassion, gratitude and disappointment. All of which require self-reflection.
Take the secondary emotion of jealousy. There is good evidence that dogs fell jealous when their owners pay attention to another dog. In one study owners pay attention to another dog or person in the household. The dogs would perform attention seeking behavior. Get in between the person or animal and the owner, bark, wine or growl to get attention. The behaved as though he wanted to interfere with the interaction that was interfering with their relationship with their owner.
There’s little doubt in most people minds that dogs feel love and give if freely. Their unconditional love is one of their most cherished qualities. Dopamine is released during pleasurable activities and Oxytocin is the hormone that maintains the warm feeling as love matures. So Dog emotions also stimulate their brains to produce Dopamine and Oxytocin.
Dog’s emotions may not be as complex and complicated as humans but they live in the moment, a much more pure way of expressing their emotions which is one of a dog’s most endearing qualities. The majority of humans are busy thinking of the past, future experiencing and believing the scripts in their head replayed over and over. There is little doubt that dog’s emotions are part of their minute-by-minute experience. It’s actually a more sane way to live life, in the present moment free of agendas and much purer and real in nature. No he’s not pissed at you because you didn’t take out the garbage. In addition the human mind will drive to affirm our superiority-to make comparisons and judge differences. Dog’s noble minds do not do this. No you don’t look fat. Thank goodness.
Where conflict often comes into play is that the emotional bond between owner and pet is often bond up in anthropomorphic projections. Owners project responsibilities and expectations onto it that the dog is not even aware of let alone capable of responding to appropriately. First one needs to understand what your dog may be feeling and secondly be able to read the multiple ways in which dogs express and show their emotions.
Dogs are the master at observation and have a great ability to realize what’s on your mind. Just like people dogs have expressive faces and bodies that give away much, of what they are feeling. Greater understanding of dog emotions the subsequent behaviors and being a good observer will provide a greater connection, respect and love for your dog.
Dog Training and Behavior
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