Do Dogs Sense Emotions?

Posted on 30th April 2015 | Category: News

Many people out there love their dogs. But can dogs sense emotions?  When compared to cats and other animals, it often seems like humans have a special bond with canines – a feeling that no doubt gave birth to the phrase man’s best friend. However, are we putting our own emotions onto our dogs? Do we tend to humanise our animals and give them traits that they don’t actually have?

This recent article in the Guardian looks at the way in which many dog owners tend to project their need for a response onto their dogs. One thing we must remember is that dogs are incredibly good at reading human body language, are very responsive and can often smell our pheromones. This means that whilst they can understand us up to a point, it doesn’t mean that they can necessarily deliver an emotional response in a similar manner to another person.

The guilty look we sometimes see in dogs, especially after they’ve behaved badly is usually nothing to do with their sorrow or feelings of letting themselves down. All too often in the sense of Cesar Milan, our dogs believe that we are the pack leader, and if they’ve done something to upset us then they might not get access to their favourite resource – the food.

Of course, this isn’t to say that many people out there get a lot of satisfaction out of their relationship with their animals.  This can often provide people with a considerable amount of security and peace of mind – animals do not ask questions of us in the same way human friends and partners do. It is this universal acceptance that makes our bond with our pets so much fun.