It is enough to spend a few minutes with your dog, and it is immediately clear that the dog also experiences different emotions. When he is happy, he wags his tail, when he is sad, he hides his tail. But does the dog only experience these basic emotions? Or is his mental world as varied as the human world?
If we want to get to the bottom of this question, we need to delve into the biology of the dog, which speaks clearly - dogs have brain structures that evoke emotions in humans. At the same time, dogs have the same hormones and go through similar chemical changes as humans during different emotional states. They even have oxytocin, the love hormone, which is involved in their affection for people. So if dogs have the same neurology and hormones as humans, then it seems reasonable to argue that they have emotions that are identical to human emotions. Nevertheless, it is a mistake if we assume that dogs experience the same range of diverse emotions as we do on a daily basis.
A dog is like a two-year-old child
Research shows that a dog's mind is very similar to a human's at two to two and a half years of age. According to Psychology Today, this conclusion holds true for most mental abilities, including emotions. This fact therefore points to the fact that a dog, like a small child, experiences much fewer types of emotions than an adult person. In general, it can be assumed that the dog's palette of emotions includes the emotions of satisfaction, anxiety, fear, anger, shyness, suspicion and affection. On the contrary, we can hardly find an emotion such as shame, pride, guilt or contempt in a dog.
Does the dog really feel no guilt?
Perhaps you are just arguing that your dog is experiencing guilt. The most common situation is when you come home and your dog starts sneaking and hiding, and you then find that there is a shiny puddle on the kitchen floor. At such a moment, it is natural to conclude that your dog feels guilty for this "transgression". But the truth remains that it is not a feeling of guilt, but a basic emotion of fear. The dog has learned that once you find a puddle on the floor, he will not get praise. And so in his eyes you do not see guilt, but fear of the punishment that may follow.
What to take away from this?
If you have a pet dog at home, you probably think about his emotions a lot. The good news is that you can dress it up with any winter outfit and your dog won't be embarrassed or feel silly. On the other hand, he will never feel a sense of pride once he wins first place at a dog show or obedience competition. But in all circumstances, he will show you love, which is the most beautiful emotion of all. So what more could you want?