Last updateFri, 19 Jun 2020 7pm


Dogs Have Emotions

default article imageIf you live with a dog you just know when it’s happy or miserable, don’t you? Of course you do. Even though scientists cannot directly measure what dogs are experiencing, they admit that dogs have emotions. According to Newsweek, “a study of 975 dog-owning adults, found that in times of emotional distress most people were more likely to turn to their dogs than their mothers, fathers, siblings, best friends, or children.”

With these numbers, it is not surprising then that dogs are the most commonly used animal in terms of animal therapy. Dogs are used more and more in a variety of mental health programs. These programs with dogs offer companionship, happiness and a love that is unconditional.

There is a common misconception about the types of dogs used to help those in need. Therapy dogs are not the same as service dogs. People confuse the two, but service dogs are trained to execute specific tasks for people who have disabilities. An example of this would be a dog who guides an owner who is blind.

A therapy dog is one who goes with its owner in a volunteer setting, such as schools, hospitals, and nursing homes. Benefits of therapy dogs include; lowering blood pressure, improving cardiovascular health, releasing calming endorphins, and lowering overall physical pain. Pet therapy is becoming a common way for experts to improve patient’s social, enthusiastic, and mental functioning.

Because dogs are really good at understanding us, it does not mean they don’t have emotions themselves. This is sometimes not always well received the other way around. A classic example of this is when someone has an “accident” in the house and dog owners think that their pet looks guilty, but for the dog in question, that look is purely submission and is a way for the dog to say “don’t hurt me” rather than an admission of guilt.

Just because dogs cannot say that they are sorry for what they have done, doesn’t mean they aren’t sorry. As puppies they do not recognize if what they are doing is right or wrong. As dogs become older, they are more aware of what their owners are expressing through their actions.

A portion of the primary challenges that occur among dogs and their owners are brought about by a person’s failure to understand their pet’s non-verbal communication accurately. Combine this with the human thought that dogs comprehend unique ideas and can apply reason when dealing with complex issues. While some pet owners can tell what a dog might be feeling when they look at them, some people are not as aware.

So how can dog owners be more aware of how their dog is feeling? Here are some tips; dogs give off facial expressions. Some may be more easily recognized than others, but it does not mean they are not there. Vocalization is something that is easier to recognize. When dogs are in pain, or when they need to go outside, they will vocalize this through barking or crying. If they are angry, they will growl. These are two easy things to look out for when you are dealing with your beloved companion.

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The Outlook
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The Outlook
Monmouth University
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Phone: (732) 571-3481 | Fax: (732) 263-5151