In our day to day life we have doctors, psychiatrists and other medical help at hand if we are feeling down. Have you ever stopped and wondered, what emotions does my dog feel?
Dogs do in fact feel emotion and can become depressed in the same way we do. Psychologists believe that a dog’s mental development stops at the age of two and a half, with their development of feelings being very similar to a human during this time. Six months later, your dog will begin to feel shame, pride and then guilt. (SOURCE: Psychology Today )
Researchers are now beginning to develop an increased understanding of the feelings associated with dogs and now know that dogs do in-fact feel love for their owners. Although you may believe that your dog loves food over anything, it has now been shown that basics such as social comfort and social bonds are far superior in importance.
It is important to point out that the most damaging emotion your dog can feel is depression. There are many ways to know if your dog has become depressed, they typically include:
- Change in behaviour, becoming aggressive or weary around you.
- Inactivity – Your dog may shy away from going on walks or other activities.
- Appetite – Has your dog started eating much less or more? Gaining and losing weight quickly?
- Restlessness – Has your dog’s sleeping pattern changed dramatically all of a sudden? Do you find that they are sleeping more often?
- Paws – Studies suggest that dogs which are ignored or feel stressed will give out their paws less often than happy dogs!
All of the above are common signs that your dog may be experiencing negative emotion and may be depressed. It is recommended that you stimulate your dog and show emotions around your dog that they can relate to.
Are they more in touch with their emotions than we are?
Through extensive research it has been proven that dogs have the ability to read human emotions and provide support where they feel necessary. Where we may struggle to understand the feelings of others, dogs have the capability to understand when we are stressed or upset through the tone of our voice.
Scientists have found that a section of our brain devoted recognising people’s voices and the emotional connection to that sound can also be found within the same area of the brain for dogs.
Your dog may know more about you than you think!
Now you know how your dog feels, think twice how you act with your dog and around your dog. You wouldn’t leave your child unattended all day, so why leave your dog? Care for your dog in the same way as you would care for a human being, in return you will be showered with love and affection from your four legged friend.
If you have a keen interest in animal psychology, eCertified Learning are now offering an Animal Psychology Level 5 course which is fully accredited and allows for you to study from home at your own pace.