Do Dogs Have Feelings And Emotions? – Understanding Dog Behaviour

Loading ....

dogs behaviour feelings and emotions


Do our dogs’ have feelings that are close to humans or are those waggley tails just something they just do and we have just associated it with them being happy?

I’m sure we’ve all experienced being away from home for a short time and when we return, our faithful companions greets us like they haven’t seen us in years.

Does this mean that our dogs have felt emotional separation or is all of their twirling about on the floor and jumping up on us just for us to remind them what a good boy/girl they are?

Or maybe they are just hungry?

Let’s explore and see if we can come to some sort a conclusion to this mystery about our canine animals.

dogs behaviour feelings and emotions







The Science Bit

In June 2013, science direct published an article about their research,

“Humans accurately read other humans’ emotional facial expressions. Little research was found examining a human ability to read dogs’ expressions. Cross species research extended facial research to chimpanzees, and their is much research on dogs’ auditory to humans.”

They began their research starting with studying how humans were able to judge dogs’ facial expressions by looking at photographs that were shown to them.

These were taken under careful strategies of linking a certain behaviour that would connect to a certain emotion. They had gathered up a trustworthy team of dog experts who were consistent in their ratings of the photographs of an Alsatian god.

The photographs that the dog experts rated as the best ones were to be used for the research of two groups, one being members of the public who had experience with dogs and the other group of people that had little to no experience with dogs.

dogs behaviour feelings and emotions

Their Findings

Each group had no problem in identifying the dogs’ emotions. What was strange though that the experienced members of the group didn’t read “aggressiveness” as accurately as the less experienced members group. It was also found that the experienced group were identifying the photographs that were taken in “behaviorally defined situations”, more accurately.

They could then confirm and recommend that using this technique of photographing a certain behaviour from a dog was to be standard practice of use.

dogs behaviour feelings and emotions

Dogs Are Healers.

It’s been proven in medical science that stroking a dog actually lowers blood pressure and heart rate. The positive effect they have on very ill patients has been well documented for decades.

Dogs can detect our feelings and emotions because they can feel what we are feeling. Take notice the next time you feel a bit down in the dumps and you will see that your dog looks at you in a way you never recognized before.

They can’t talk but their big eyes will tell you how much they care and that they feel some sort of empathy towards you. Dogs love to please their owners and that trait most come from somewhere, their need to make their owners happy, It’s a win-win situation for all involved.

dogs behaviour feelings and emotions

Their Loyalty Is Fierce.

I can remember a story from one of my friends a couple of years ago which can show us how loyal and amazing animals they are. My friend and myself were talking about the types of jobs we had gone through when we were younger and he said that he was a postman for a few years.

Peter had enjoyed his work as he kept fit without paying for a gym membership and he got to meet really cool, interesting people. There was only one downside, that was a certain house that he delivered to on his daily route that scared the life out of him each time.

This house was one in a terraced row and it always had its front garden gates wide open. The first time he stepped foot on the driveway, two black Dobermans came galloping out of nowhere jumping and barking at Peter and he ran for his life.

When he was a safe distance away, he looked back and saw that the dogs hadn’t chased him, they never got past the garden gates. They were obviously trained to stop at a certain point, enough to give a stranger a chance to think twice about trying again.

I personally have known a lot of Dobermans, they are big teddy bears if they know you but if you are any threat to their family, you will know about it! They really are reliable and loyal companions. What human would do that for you? They would more than likely bail on us.

dogs behaviour feelings and emotions

What Do You Think?

I’m certain you have heard of the many heartbreaking stories of the dogs that won’t leave their owners grave after they have passed away? They are clearly not just doing so for fun. Maybe it’s there way of dealing with their grief.

I’m very certain that they have feelings and emotions. There’s no other way to explain the bond we have with our best friends. We could accidentally step on their paw and instantly they have forgiven us. As we rack ourselves with guilt after hurting our pooch, our dog won’t hold a grudge.

The strongest emotion and feeling in the world is Love and boy! Do we get that from our dogs! That huge unrequited love that they give us is astounding and the joy they bring to our lives is second to none. I always had dogs around growing up and I’ve had the heart break when they have passed.

Each one of them have different personalities and characters. They can make you laugh and make you cry. The thoughts of them having feelings and emotions just just make my day!

dogs behaviour feelings and emotions




I hope you all enjoyed this article. Share your stories about your dogs in the comment section, I would love to hear them!

Many Blessings To You All,



Loading ....



  1. I honestly believe any animal has emotions, especially mammals.  I can’t say for certain snakes or lizards or turtles have any, but I have seen cats lonely and desperate for attention and I have cats who follow me for attention that I’ve never fed.  It’s definitely not all about food.  While your post is about dogs, I feel that both dogs and cats are similar enough that they display emotions, even if they display it very differently. 

    You’re right that the simple act of petting a dog (or cat) can relieve stress.

    I always wonder why some people just think of them as ‘dumb animals’ when they clearly have emotions, a sense of self, and they clearly love and feel bonded to people and other animals.

    Thanks for the post, it was interesting!

    • Hi,

      Yes we have always been told that our only connection is to mammals…not much research has gone into repiles but I know Gekos will respond to a still wave.

      You’re right, all animals have emotions.

      The reason why many are unsure about reptiles and the like is because they haven’t beem ‘domesticated’

      Take Care


  2. Contrary to what many people believe, humans are not the only animals capable of having feelings and empathy. A touch alone from a human is capable of having an emotional effect on a dog. The old saying, “As loyal as a dog” isn’t just a fable or make believe, there are deep truths to it, many of which are scientifically proven. Whenever I go on a long trip, my labrador is always the first one to know I’m around, even before my kids and husband see me. 

    • Hi Amanda,

      Yes it’s so true, a dog will greet us quicker than a family member!

      Humans aren’t animals though!

      I get what you what you mean…

      Thank you for your opinion and comment

      Gayle :-))

  3. A friend once told me the story of her sister’s dying Labrador. The doggie had terminal cancer and was looking to celebrate his last birthday with close friends and families. People traveled from all over with birthday greetings and cakes. On that fateful day, after everyone gathered around, he took one last breath and passed away surrounded by loved ones. Yes, he passed away on his birthday. 

    He seemed to know that everyone had come to say goodbye and he left in a somewhat happy-bitter occasion. They say Labrador can read human feelings and I believe that’s true in every sense. 

    • Hello Cathy,

      Aww what a way to go surrounded by loved ones…

      Labrador’s are very intuitive and have a fantasic connection with humans. They are reliable and loyal companions and well worthy of a beautiful send off.

      Thanks for sharing


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *