Animals

Dogs feel emotions comparable to those of a child

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The pets They are specialists in detect emotions human. It is a fact that dogs they read facial expressions, as well as tone of voice to recognize the emotional state of people. A study developed by Lincoln University of Psychology concluded that they are capable of combine information from different senses a mental representation of it can be formed.

“Animals, as an integral part of the family nucleus, they are sensitive to perceive everything that exists in your environment. The dogs have evolved along with humans thousands of years, which gives them a special capacity to perceive everything we feel, ”says Rosana Álvarez, a veterinarian specializing in behavioral medicine and founder of Veterinary Ethology. Along these lines, the results of the investigation showed that dogs can extract and integrate emotional sensory information and discriminate between positive and negative states of both humans and dogs.

But if this is so, they would also be stimuli for the pets' own mood. “Scientific developments guarantee that the emotional communication we have with our partners is the secret of the link that accompanies our relationship, ”says Annalisa Tantini, a psychologist specializing in animal behavior and a collaborator in Animal Space.

Sensitive to emotions

Joy, anxiety or sadness They are emotions known to animals. "The smell of a dog can identify through our hormones when we live in a state of fear, anxiety, anger, ... In addition, perfectly identify and distinguish the tone of voice”, Explains Tantini.

But knowing how is the mood of the humans around them too directly influences their behavior. "Being mammals, in your brain you have everything you need to feel emotions and be sensitive to ours," adds the psychologist who indicates how the states of joy are contagious and before its balanced manifestation, will trigger a licking party.

So normal is this response in people today, which usually go unnoticed for those who suffer in light states. However, letting yourself be driven by this alert response generates discomfort both physically and mentally, also in pets.

Stress and anxiety generates changing behaviors, now happy, then angry. We will also behave this way with our pets, who may suffer the consequences with behaviors of confusion, stress, attention calls, depression, ... ”, Álvarez analyzes.

In fact, a stressed owner can transmit unbalanced behaviors. "It is more likely that anxious, neurotic and fearful owners transfer these emotions generating in the animal reactivity, attachment, stress or helplessness, depending on the type of the animal," says Tantini.

According to the expert, when dogs suffer a rise in stress they become more reactive since they perceive their environment as insecure and therefore live in alert state to defend against the dangers of the world.

“Solving our fears and resolving situations that cause us anxiety will be the basis to help the animal overcome its behavioral problems. We can take advantage of the mirror that pets provide for remove our locks”, Recommends Lisa.

Improve well-being

The equanimity and emotional harmony They are essential to develop the wellness in the mood own and pets. "You have to maintain as stable conditions as possible in the environment, through a routine that meets the basic needs of the animal in terms of company, physical and mental exercise and environmental enrichment," says the ethologist.

That means avoid, for example, the screams and the fights. “Being sad, living pessimistic moments or having a bad season is part of life, but we must try to maintain a measured behavior with our pet. He understands us so that if we live in a negative moment, he will be the first ally to help us overcome it, ”adds Lisa.

Another behavior to take into account is the attachment. As evidenced by the research of Ádám Miklósi and Veronika Honok, ethologists at the University of Budapest, they are alarms of there is a unbalanced link With our animal.

The study in dogs showed that those who suffer separation related syndrome manifest stress behaviors. During the period they spend alone they maintain a high level of activity, while decreasing in those who do not suffer.

Annalisa warns of the need to know the canine communication To avoid this phenomenon. “It is important to learn their real needs and not humanize them, as this can generate separation anxiety"He concludes.

Dogs have the same sensitivity>

This is demonstrated by the study conducted by neurologist Gregory Bens who, after conducting a test with several dogs, including his, managed to show that Canines have the same sensitivity as a child.

The experiment consisted of using several dogs and putting them under an MRI scanner.. Throughout the test, dogs received different types of stimuli, which generated some brain activity.

According to the investigation, The brain activity of the dogs increased as they received signals that related to feeding or the smells of known people.

Can dogs be optimistic or pessimistic?

On the other hand, a study also related to Emotions in dogs showed that dogs, like humans, can be optimistic or pessimistic.

That is to say, when a dog stays home alone, he anguishes and clearly demonstrates it with its barking, destroying things or doing its necessities inside.

In that sense, the investigation revealed that canines are anxious when they are left alone and, With their behavior, they tend to be pessimistic.

Professor Mike Mendl is responsible for the research group at the University of Bristol (United Kingdom) that carried out the study.

In different media he stated that his team He was able to develop a new method to study pessimistic or optimistic decisions in dogs.

Investigators They conducted the study with 24 dogs that had recently entered a relocation shelter in the United Kingdom.

A researcher interacted with each dog in an isolated room for 20 minutes.

The next day, he took the dog back to the room and then left him alone for a period of five minutes, during which time his behavior was captured on video.

In those five minutes, the researchers observed that the dog began to bark, jump on the furniture and scratched the door. These behaviors were repetitive in the different animals.

In order to study decision making in those same dogs, the researchers placed a bowl with food in one place and another that was empty. Both vessels were located in ambiguous places.

Dogs that ran quickly to these ambiguous places, as if waiting for the food reward, were classified as relatively optimistic while those that did not approach the bowl were considered pessimistic.

Mendl said: "We know that people's emotional states affect their judgments and that happy people are more likely to judge an ambiguous situation positively. Our study has shown that this applies equally to dogs ».

The results suggest that behavior considered problematic for owners also has emotional significance for animals, even when the behavior itself is not expressing itself.

Further, there is a possibility that some dogs may be more likely to respond with anxiety when left alone.

That is important because separation-related behavior is common in dogs, therefore, predicting that behavior can be used to treat them properly, so that they can achieve good well-being.

What other things can dogs feel?

Others studies have suggested that dogs may experience negative emotions as humans do, including the equivalent of certain chronic and acute psychological conditions, such as depression.

Similarly, some years ago, symptoms similar to Clinical depression, neurosis and other psychological conditions were generally accepted within what has been known as canine emotion.

On the other hand, other investigations reveal that Dogs can also be jealous. This type of behavior, where an animal feels frustrated with what happens with another, has also been observed in primates.

In dogs, according to scientists, this type of behavior is probably due to the close relationship dogs have with humans.

Emotions in dogs and experts

Science has advanced a lot, especially in the animal field. We have come to understand that dogs have the same brain structures, hormones and chemical changes that produce emotions in humans. Each time we discover how complex they can be. Dogs even they have the hormone oxytocin, the one that we secrete when we are in love or feel affection for others. That said, you will imagine that your dog has tons of this hormone, because what he likes most is to give love and seek affection from you.

Studies show that with respect to basic emotions, humans and other animal mammals are very similar and these emotions occur in deep areas of the brain. Similarly, they argue that although these parameters resemble, animals are purer in terms of emotions that the people.

What happens is that the feelings that dogs experience are not connected with complex thoughts. Dogs do not question their own emotions, they only dedicate themselves to feeling. His emotions are 100% honest, your dog could never lie to you, or have hidden reasons about something he is feeling. But this does not make them less sensitive, it does not mean that they do not feel intensely, in the same way that we do.

Joy and love

No one can deny that dogs they feel a deep love for their human companions, which translates into loyalty like no other. If you build a good and solid relationship with your pet, your dog will always want to receive and give love, will see you with eyes of unparalleled appreciation, will make you feel loved and appreciated and will constantly show it to you. He will seek to lick you, kiss you and, if he could, hug you too.

Similarly, that love is mixed with joy. A healthy dog ​​is a happy dog ​​that enjoys life. His way of expressing how happy he is is through play, jumping and body language and very spontaneous sounds. Definitely, dogs experience joy. Naturalist scientist Charles Darwin mentioned: "Under the expectation of any great pleasure, dogs jump in an extravagant way and bark for joy."

Emotional pain

Dogs do not feel emotional pain in the same way as people, but They experience the feeling of loss and sadness when, for example, a member of his pack (his family) leaves or dies. Although they do not cry, they express their sorrow and anguish in another way, such as through fear, depression, loss of appetite, reluctance, anxiety, sleeping too much or too little. According to a study, dogs can exhibit various behavioral changes after losing a partner, entering a mourning process that can last weeks or even months.

Are you coming home and going to pet your dogs and one wants to hoard your pampering and your love? Dogs are territorial creatures, even on emotional levels. You are part of it and he will seek to have your full attention. If you have another dog or someone new to the family arrives, your dog will feel jealous of this "invader" and, therefore, when asked "what emotions do dogs feel", this is one of the most common.

Dogs do not appreciate preferences when it comes to another creature, however, when it comes to them they feel very comfortable with the idea of ​​not sharing you. This does not have to be the rule. If you raise your dogs with a lot of love around them, a sense of trust and independence, in addition to their due moments of recreation, you will not have to have a jealous dog at home.

Your dog, of course, who knows when he has done something wrong, like peeing where he should not bite, break or eat something that does not belong. The typical guilty face, accompanied by the tail stuck between the legs, slouching like a ball and placed in your bed or in a corner, are clear signs that your dog is feeling shame. These are behaviors with which dog sitters are very familiar. But for dogs, this emotion is less complex than human guilt or shame. Submissive postures are the clear result of an anxious anticipation of anger on your part. Your beloved and emotionally intelligent pet knows that his actions were not correct and will lead him to disciplinary action. However, this emotion that dogs feel is not usually lasting, so correcting the behavior after a while after it has been performed will not get results, since the dog will have already forgotten what he did wrong.

Dogs can also suffer from fears and phobias. They are creatures very sensitive to trauma and to the strong emotions that come at once. How many times have you not gone for a walk with your dog and out of nowhere run to get between your legs ?, That is a clear behavior that expresses fear, in which, your dog will seek your protection. Fireworks, vacuum cleaners, trucks, people with mysterious costumes and hats and even the dark, may be just some of the factors that produce the emotion of fear in dogs. Nerves bring cravings, cravings bring fear and fear results in fear. This is an expansive chain in which most dogs are trapped and that, like their caregivers, we must help free them with love, patience, attention and emotional education.

Now that you know what emotions dogs feel, have you noticed that yours expresses one that is not on our list? Do not hesitate to leave your comment!

If you want to read more articles similar to What emotions do dogs feel?, we recommend that you enter our Curiosities section of the animal world.

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