Does my dog have the same emotions as I do?
Does my dog have the same emotions as I do? This is a very difficult question. Scientists have been doing studies in an attempt to prove that dogs have similar emotions to humans ( Friederike Range University Of Vienna and Paul Morris of University Of Portsmouth) while others claim the studies are tainted with the style of testing (Sharon Maguire Dog Breed Info Center; Barnard Collage did research and had no definitive answer “The jury is still out”). The difficult part of proving that they have the same emotions is the animal’s instincts.
When humans put their emotions on their pets it is called Anthropomorphism (ascribing human characteristics to nonhuman things). As humans we want to believe our loving pets are showing or feeling the same emotions we do it comforts us to believe we share the same feelings. In reality they are not, at least not in the same way as we do. They have emotions just not as complex as ours. It’s the more complex part of the emotion where we differ, as humans we listen to our emotions but we also have our logical side that can reason with our emotions. A dog have their instincts and has yet to be proven that dogs reason with their emotions, For example, often times I hear my clients say that their dog hates when they give attention to another dog or their dog is jealous of another dog when it comes to attention. This serves as an excellent example that shows that in reality it’s not jealousy the dog is feeling; instead it is the dog’s instincts that drive the behavior. The dog maybe guarding you or claiming you as their territory, the dominant dog stands on or in front of the person they are guarding or push another dog away thus claiming its territory. Dogs can sense our energy and In order to fully understand the difference we must understand that dogs live in a pack; a pack is a social group and all social groups – Human and Mammal- have a hierarchy in which they exhibit leadership as well as set the rules for the system or the pack. Considering the above mentioned it is easy to understand that when a dog joins a human household, those humans become their pack. If the humans are not the leaders then energy is perceived as unstable or weak and the dogs take it amongst themselves to lead the pack. Dogs have the ability to feel our emotions through energy that radiates off our bodies; however we believe they cannot understand the meaning of that energy. Based on such findings dogs don’t hate other dogs or experience jealousy over other dogs, instead they have determined that they lead the pack and therefore their human belongs to them and other dogs are simply not accepted. Another great example would be if we as humans are upset over personal issues and our dogs even though pick up on the energy changes they do not understand what our problems are, instead they act accordingly to the weak energy they feel.
At this time we have not proven that dogs have the same emotions as we and in my 28 years of experience, I have not witnessed an example that instinct behavior cannot explain. Throughout my career, I have personally seen when humans put their emotions on their dogs we inadvertently are rewarding. By rewarding or ignoring bad behavior; we not intentionally teach the dog that guarding or fighting off other dogs is acceptable. It is an important responsibility taking on another life and it is up to us to understand our furry pack member’s way of thinking and fulfill their needs.
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