Understanding Dog Emotions

Do you know your dog laughs out loud? Your dog can cry and feel guilty, too. Just observe him carefully! Studies have shown that dogs have similar emotions as humans, and they understand us through gestures and emotional expressions rather than words. It’s necessary for dog owners to understand dog emotions to enhance the quality of life they spend with their furr-end.

A team of People for Animals and Cruelty-Free International, together, researched on the emotional intelligence of dogs by employing MRI brain scan technique. They found dog’s EQ to be equivalent to that of a human toddler of two to three years old. Dogs demonstrate similar behaviors like tolerance, forgiveness, fairness, selflessness, and altruism.

Seven Emotions Our Dogs Experience

Dogs experience seven kinds of emotions, and we may have understood most but not all of them.

1. Joy

An excited dog having lots of fun can express his feelings by jumping around, wagging his tail in, and friendly gestures. A calm, happy and joyous dog can have upright ears, high-held tail, relaxed position or humped one, open mouth (with a slight smile) and gentle behavior.

2. Fear

Fear and phobias are common in dogs. Triggered by loud noises, uncertain situations, and threatening people, the dogs will feel insecure and fearful. Fearful dogs have piloerection (standing hair), flat ears, tucked tail, andtense body language. They will attempt to hide from scary triggers.

3. Anxiety

Anxiety is triggered by discomfort or long-term separation from the dog owner. Anxious dogs are seen panting, licking or yawning excessively, attempting to escape or hide from distress, and developing addictive habits likeexcessive chewing, tail-chasing, etc.

4. Jealousy

A research conducted at University of Vienna discovered that dogs felt jealous when they were not treated fairly. They stopped obeying the orders. When the dog is jealous, either he will ask for more attention or start to ignore you.

5. Guilt

A guilty dog, who had misbehaved in your absence, will have bowed head, droopy ears, hunched body posture, and sad gaze. He may demonstrate submissive body posture because of the knowledge that he will get punished for bad behavior.

6. Grief

Dogs experience sadness when a family member or house petpasses away. They feel distressed and may suffer from depression. Depression involves loss of appetite, lack of sleep or excessive sleepiness, lack of interest, and low energy levels. During moments of grief due to a human loss, you have to help your pet overcome the negative emotions.

7. Aggression

Dog aggression is apparent through stubborn behavior, growling, snapping, biting, and excessive barking. The dog can attempt to dominate the owner by mouthing and muzzle punches.

Why developing an emotional understanding with dogs is important?

Most of the pet-owners bring home a dog or a cat to overcome their loneliness, depression or stress. Some buy them for the happiness of their children. But, have you ever thought from the perspective of the dog or puppy who has been introduced to your family, and looks up to you as his only savior? Here are the benefits of developing an emotional understanding with dogs:

  • It will help you raise an emotionally balanced dog.
  • It will make the training process easy, where you can manipulate the good moods and mold the negative emotions at the spot.
  • It will prevent your dog from getting into depression, stress, or separation anxiety.
  • You can have an emotionally intelligent dog.

Often, dogs catch your emotions. So, you can understand your reactions and emotions better by staying aware of your behavior towards your dog.

Awareness about dog emotions and personal reactions is required so that better behaviors are adopted for personal development, and practical training techniques are employed for the dogs. Moreover, you can seek professional help in case of severe behavior problems. As much as the dog makes us happy, it’s our job to make him equally happy, comfortable and content.

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