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Does Your Dog Know When You're Sad?

Animals  (tags: dogs, pets, empathy, emotion )

- 2201 days ago -
Plenty of pet owners are comforted by a pair of puppy-dog eyes or a swipe of the tongue when their dog catches them crying. Now, new research suggests that dogs really do respond to tears. But whether pets have empathy for human pain is less clear.

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. (0)
Saturday June 9, 2012, 10:55 am
As a child I was punished often enough and sent to my room; tears, drama, the whole 9 yards. We had a Yorkie named Maxwell. On my bed, that little guy would lie along side me while I cried. I remember times when he would lie on my stomach. He was the greatest comfort.

Jason S (50)
Saturday June 9, 2012, 10:57 am
Yes, thanks

Michael M (60)
Saturday June 9, 2012, 1:26 pm
I have noticed over the years that a wolf here who adopted/chose to bond with me, recognized when I was extremely tired on long treks in the mountains, and when I was injured, as well as ill. He took steps to assert that I rest, cease, and other appropriate responses.
Since wolves and wolf hybrids are highly assertive, it may be due to differences (there are many, many) between wolves who are equipped to survive and thrive in company in the wild, and domestic dogs (which have as a rule bra9ns about 20% smaller for any given size).

This wolf also expects me to understand and strongly communicates his own pain overheating (the most common problem), and any other indisposition. Since I have always shown sufficient respect, he appears to be so far more highly communicative than any other canid I've experienced bonded to a human.

Yes, he also responds to emotional variables. When younger, he took exception noticeably to any who would threaten or otherwise cause what could be termed as negative emotional response.

This ability to evaluate, to assess, is necessary for a social, cursorial predator. You see, they can't catch the healthy prey, or such prey is dangerous (most wolves in moose and elk country suffer from breaks and sprains - since deer are more exclusively escape-oriented, they inflict less harm.

There seems in every wolf I've encountered, to be a strong recognition of the integrity of other canids and of humans. There is also a strong demand that one respects their own integrity.

It took some warped breeding to create overly aggressive slave dogs. A wolf will expect any bonded to take his side in a dispute (and will take your side, if not too tamed, hybridized, or cowed by brutal primates), as well as normally not responding aggressively to attack by a female - this is normal in most dog breeds, and we know this colloquially, as "dog" is the word for a male, and the word for females has popularly been used as epithet.

There is much, much more behavior clearly indicating strong and skillful cognitive abilities. The question approaches only a few. Remember that cognition is the simplest way to allow variable behavior, and mammal brains are structured in very similar manners, especially social mammals.

The large size of human brains are less related to actual adaptive "intelligence" (a vague term in a world where any species needs adaptability USEFUL to its kind), than as an exclusively social organ. Our human brains are agreed most probably to have needed some size and complexity to evaluate the deception involved in verbal communications, as well as other uses in social groups of omnivorous handed (manipulative) creatures.

Michael M (60)
Saturday June 9, 2012, 1:27 pm
And, oh, I have forgotten to mention:

All dogs are descended from wolves - they're all wolf DNA.

Michael M (60)
Saturday June 9, 2012, 1:38 pm
PS do not seek to "own" a wolf. Their birthright is something more, in ways you will never completely understand.
To steal wolf pups from this species, fierce and gentle beyond our human capacities, is to imprison him/her in physical, emotional, and other mental ways.

They are not made to be captive, and no captive love or care ever fully replaces their full needs. They DO need freedom to be themselves, and sufficient place on this continent, which they occupied in superb balance for nearly 2 million years before the coming of our kind.

Many people would never own a "pet" of any kind due to the fact that this is essentially household slavery. Those which we have diminished through breeding (above I've given the relative brain size reduction from wolves. The brain size difference between cats and their wild predecessors is approximately the same) may now be dependent upon us, but utility or loneliness is insufficient reason to control another life.

Aimee A (177)
Saturday June 9, 2012, 1:48 pm
Very cool! Thanks for posting!

MmAway M (506)
Sunday June 10, 2012, 2:31 am

All my boys and girls furry Best Friends, always knew when I was sad, angry at something, or sick! They were the only ones that were right there....Not my parents, not any friends, but you can always count on the Unconditional Love of your Best Friend....for that matter, a friends dog actually came up to me and gave me comfort when I had to put my Setter down...put his paw on my knee while I was talking to my girlfriend about what had happened and why she hadn't seen me for 2 weeks, sadly, that special boy is now gone too!

They have such short lives and we are left with broken hearts, they take our feelings/all things in and when they leave, they have taken a part of us never to return!

BTW...After my surgery, my rescue that I have had only 3 years always used to sleep almost on top of me, and for 3 months I couldn't let her sleep with me, heart hurting, but lately since she herself had to have some surgery, I have had her with me, though I have to protect my incision "Jessie" gets to close and I groan even softly, she moves back away from that area. They are smarter than Humans!
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