Dogs and Emotions

I am continually amazed at the depth of denial people can be in.  Especially people who say that dogs don’t have emotions.  Are they kidding?  I know my dogs love, hate, get pissed off, and fear.

So dogs can’t say what they feel, in words.  Does that mean it doesn’t exist?  Do the emotions of infants not exist, or of mutes?  What more evidence do you need than the expression of love on a dog’s face, the sighs of contentment, the joy of greeting, the growls of rage, the wildly wagging tail, or the tremblings of terror?  Come on, people!  That’s evidence of emotion, not just some Skinnerian conditioning!

A couple of video / audio pieces I think you’ll enjoy, if you’re interested in this topic.

http://link.brightcove.com/services/link/bcpid1659825399/bclid1716449804/bctid4328463001 (click on the “Chile’s Hero Dog” to the right).  TEARJERKER WARNING.

New Experiments show that dogs understand fairness, feel jealousy. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=97944783 (The “listen” version is better than the printed one.)

The British are always ahead of the US on dog-related stuff.  http://www.purina.co.uk/Home/All+About+Dogs/Living+Together+Dog/Get+More+Out+Of+Life+Dog/Do+Dogs+Have+Emotions.htm

And lastly, a somewhat contrarian point of view.  I question, though, his conclusion that because a dog transfers its loyalty to a new home, that the dog didn’t really love his old family.  I believe this is proof of a dog’s limitless capacity for love.  http://www.rps.psu.edu/probing/dog.html

As I write this, I have five dachshunds all snuggling me, and not because they are cold, or insecure, or because they think they get status from being around me (the royalty of the house).  They want to be close to me, because they love me.  No one can convince me otherwise.

And that is why it is so heartbreaking to walk through places like the DeKalb Animal Control, where there are currently more than 30 dogs, many of them who wagged their tails hopefully as I passed, hoping I would be the next one they could love.  I got one out, but only one, and only because she had short legs.  The rest didn’t understand.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Sherri
    Dec 12, 2008 @ 01:48:13

    I saw the Dog Hero video clip. It was both heartwarming and heartbreaking. How can anyone watch this and doubt that a dog has emotions?

    Reply

  2. markhcarter
    Dec 30, 2008 @ 21:40:40

    Hello,

    I lost my dachshund this last Spring and would like to know where I can donate his wheelchair. He only used it a couple of weeks before he recovered almost 100%. About 10 months later, he sustained a different very painful back injury and I had to put him down. Long story short, I have a “doggonwheels” brand chair, for a standard Dachshund approximately 18 lbs, it is somewhat adjustable, of very high quality and was very expensive. I would love to talk to anyone working with a back injury and offer advice on physical therapy and homeopathic remedies that worked for us. My e-mail is mark_h_carter@hotmail.com. I would like to help someone in need. Thanks – Mark

    Reply

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