How do dogs show Emotions?
Dogs do show emotions in a number of ways. While there may not be as large a variety of emotions, the animal can certainly indicate fear, love and several other feelings. The question is: How do dogs show emotions? What are the indications of a dog that feels possessive or jealous? Suppose a dog is grieving over the loss of a favorite companion (human or canine). How is that emotion displayed?
Medical studies show that dogs have distinct personality traits that are often indicated by certain action or lack of action. For example, when a dog is feeling affectionate it will show this in a way that is similar to human action. The same goes for emotional stability, sociability etc.
People who don’t have a dog as a family pet and haven’t been a pet owner in the past might have some doubt about this issue. But dog owners know that their family friend is more than capable of displaying its feelings. Some studies have reported that dogs and other animals don’t show true emotion but only respond through instinct.
In this theory, dogs react to what we give or offer, but the response is instinct. There is a group of scientists who find a happy medium, believing that dogs certainly indicate when they are afraid or frightened. But they stop at giving dogs credit for emotions such as guilt or love.
So, what should we look for as a sign of a dog’s emotions? Tail-wagging is a good indicator of general happiness and something at a higher level – glee! The opposite of this might be a dog that obviously stays away from the owner or family members because of poor behavior. A dog left alone may destroy something in the home. When the owners return the dog will most likely not greet people with signs of happiness. Guilt might be displayed by lying down, with eyes open, warily watching the owner survey the damage.
Dogs may lick as a sign of love. This is a primary way for dogs to connect with another being. (Cats may show this by rubbing, though some people argue that cats and dogs don’t display emotions in similar ways.)
In contrast to licking and rubbing, a dog may whine at a low volume when it feels lonely or that it is being left alone. If someone pays attention to the dog it will probably stop the whining/whimpering immediately. Unless this attention continues for a long time the dog will probably go back to whining again. This seems to show that the need is not satisfied.
It’s interesting to note that dogs show something similar to human compassion, especially to a sick or injured person. Again, some scientists call this instinct. It may well be a way of showing the protective instinct, but others argue that the dog is also showing that is feels bad for the sick or injured person. This emotion might be indicated by lying next to or on the person. Nuzzling and licking are sometimes part of this action as well.