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In your opinion, do dogs have emotions?

Is it possible for a dog to love a human being, or another dog?

Is it possible for a dog to feel rejected, sad, upset, happy, etc...
 

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The emotional states I believe I've seen Wally display:

Happiness
Sadness
Rejection
Frustration
Some levels of love (love between friends, love for another in the sense of caring/sympathy "agape" type love)
Excitement
Nervousness
Fear
Vigilance (that "feeling" that you're being watched or something is out there)
Anger
Peacefulness
Loneliness
That "please tell me what I can do to make it up to you" feeling (don't know a good word to describe it)
Separation (different than loneliness - more the "I want to come too!" or "Why don't you want me with you?" feeling)
Confidence
Eagerness
Mixed Feelings (conflicted about a situation)
Confusion/Uncertainty
Tension (as in a tense social situation)


I believe much of a dog's communication is about their emotional state, so I think it follows that dogs do feel emotions. Whether or not they are consciously aware of them.
 

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Yeah. In my very esteemed, uneducated opinion, yes.

I think so...

Don't you think?

If my dogs can be sensitive to my feelings...

The emotional states I believe I've seen Wally display:

Happiness
Sadness
Rejection
Frustration
Some levels of love (love between friends, love for another in the sense of caring/sympathy "agape" type love)
Excitement
Nervousness
Fear
Vigilance (that "feeling" that you're being watched or something is out there)
Anger
Peacefulness
Loneliness
That "please tell me what I can do to make it up to you" feeling (don't know a good word to describe it)
Separation (different than loneliness - more the "I want to come too!" or "Why don't you want me with you?" feeling)
Confidence
Eagerness
Mixed Feelings (conflicted about a situation)
Confusion/Uncertainty
Tension (as in a tense social situation)


I believe much of a dog's communication is about their emotional state, so I think it follows that dogs do feel emotions. Whether or not they are consciously aware of them.
Okay. I just want to say this ^^^.
 

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I used to believe the idiotic line that dogs don't have emotions, they're just acting like that because of instinct and behaviorism and we merely project our human emotions onto them, yadda yadda yadda.

I realized (FINALLY) about 7 years ago that dogs absolutely have emotions... they feel happiness, depression, etc. and yep, they can absolutely love. There is absolutely zero doubt in my mind about this (and I'm a hyper-logical left-brain type person).
 

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All very interesting, but until we can define "love" on a human scale it is impossible to define "love" ion reagrds to other species.

If someone were to say, "I love ice cream cones and so does my dog" I would say that is a highly plausible statement. I have had several dogs that would scale the Great Wall of China for an ice cream cone.

Saying, OTOH, "I love my dog and he loves me.." leaves me with too many questions and no way to measure the responses to those questions.

My dog adores me for the resources I provide from food to lots of entertainment (usually at my expense, but then she does live with cats).

When I uncrate her when I get home from work she appears over joyed.. but she might be just as over joyed with ANYONE who uncrated her (and is, according to my neighbor, who occaisionally helps with Dog duty if I am going to be late home from work).

In all honesty, and as much as I wish I could say it is so, I cannot say for sure my dog "LOVES" me.. at least on a scale that deals with relationships and not ice cream.
 

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I'll answer anecdotally, like I usually do.

Over 30 years ago, I was found by a gorgeous (after she was cleaned up) stray Irish setter mix on the street in Santa Barbara. She was about nine years old and quickly became the most devoted, loyal and affectionate dog you could imagine.

She moved back to Wisconsin with me and a situation arose where she went to live with my parents, who loved her as much as I did. At first, I believe she felt rejected and abandoned and was picked up several times heading back to where I lived - about fifty miles away.

After about two weeks, though, she began to realize what a sweet deal she had. My parents adored here and were retired. They took her to the beach in the summer and cross-country skiing in the state forest in the winter. She was about 85 pounds but, when she got so old that steps were difficult for her, my father would carry her up and down the stairs so she could sleep in their room at night.

When I'd come to visit, she was clearly happy to see me, but showed no interest whatsoever in going home with me when I left.

I believe dogs feel fear, joy, grief and a kind of love. But I believe they have generally good survival instincts and are, above all, opportunistic.
 

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Dogs would not have reach the hight level of stature if it were not for their human like emotions. And because love can be defined in so many different ways, it does apply to dog and cats!
 

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I believe dogs feel fear, joy, grief and a kind of love. But I believe they have generally good survival instincts and are, above all, opportunistic.
I think there's more to it than that.

If it was just about resources like Elana said and just about being opportunistic like you say then why is it that Wally won't take the same treat he'd almost bite my hand off for when it's in the hands of someone he's never met?

It's all about opportunity and resources, right?

I believe dogs are above all, unique. Wally is more emotion than opportunity. His emotional state dictates a lot with him.
 

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Dogs definitely have emotions. They are just not exactly like human emotions. For example, you can obviously see when a dog is happy, scared, excited, frustrated or angered. It's with a more complicated emotion like saddness/grief that because a dog doesn't act the same way we might, some may think they don't experience it. Dogs are lucky that they think very simply. We humans add a bunch of "emotional crap" to everything. And a dog would probably say we over think everything.

Two months ago we lost one of our Beagles very unexpectedly. While she was in the hospital my other very stoic Beagle who usually seemed to not care a whole lot about her, spent his days hiding in my bedroom closet. When we would come home he would wait by the door for her to come in for several minutes later. When we had to go relieve her of her suffering I insisted on bringing him so they could visit one more time. After that he never looked for her again. He moped and wasn't his usual self for awhile. He certainly got through it faster than I have but I think it is because they function on a more basic/simpler level.

A few months ago I saw on tv that someone did a study and found that dogs can feel being unfairly treated. Like if one kept getting treats and attention and the other did not. I forget what the other dogs reaction was. I wonder how much was spent on that....

Tricia
 

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I definitely think dogs (and other animals) have emotions, although for them, it's different, more simplistic, and more straightforward.
 

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I think there's more to it than that.

If it was just about resources like Elana said and just about being opportunistic like you say then why is it that Wally won't take the same treat he'd almost bite my hand off for when it's in the hands of someone he's never met?

It's all about opportunity and resources, right?
I agree completely with this. There are too many examples of pets forsaking physical needs for the affection of their owners. I once watched a crime show which was about the murder of a woman and her two dogs. The husband was the prime suspect but no one could figure out why he wouldn't have bite marks etc.

It turned out that he did murder both his wife's dogs (by beating the poor things to death :mad:) and then his wife... but the dogs knew and loved him, so even though they were being beaten to death, they submitted.

I don't think anyone would deny that the natural instinctive reaction to being beaten to death would be to attack back! So how to you explain their not acting on this instinct other than that they knew and loved the man who was supposedly their caretaker? (No, they hadn't been drugged or restrained... forensics showed they had been awake and alert during the attack. BTW, the sicko at least had the conscience to put "his" dog safely away in the bedroom, and that dog was found unharmed.)

Also, what about empathy? I told someone one time about how Dixon senses when I'm having a bad day or am physically hurt and she will come and cuddle and give me kisses. That person told me, "Oh, that's only because they like the salty taste of tears."

Um, no, she's not kissing tears, she's kissing my hands and cheek... not to mention her whole demeanor is one of empathy (from the expression on her face to the way she wags her tail).

Also, if she's missing someone, she won't eat or drink until the person she's missing comes back. This afternoon, we took her for an outing to spend some quality time with her without the boys, and we had to run an errand on the way home. I stayed in the car with Dixon because it's a warm day and we needed to leave the air conditioning on for her. She was hot and very obviously thirsty, but she wouldn't drink from her bowl no matter how I tried to get her to drink some cool, fresh water... she kept her eyes fixed on the store entrance to watch for her Daddy to come out.

I kept trying to get her to drink (she REALLY needed some water) and she just had no interest. When my husband came back, I kept the water bowl up to her so she could drink, but she wouldn't take a sip until she had showered her Daddy with hugs and kisses first.

Now, we have never used NILIF with Dixon (because I hadn't heard of it until I joined this forum), so she's never been conditioned to have to give affection or wait or perform any behavior in order to get food. She didn't drink until she could give love to her Daddy by her own choice, not because of anything she had learned.

How do you explain that if dogs are ultimately opportunistic?
 

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I'll answer anecdotally, like I usually do.

Over 30 years ago, I was found by a gorgeous (after she was cleaned up) stray Irish setter mix on the street in Santa Barbara. She was about nine years old and quickly became the most devoted, loyal and affectionate dog you could imagine.

She moved back to Wisconsin with me and a situation arose where she went to live with my parents, who loved her as much as I did. At first, I believe she felt rejected and abandoned and was picked up several times heading back to where I lived - about fifty miles away.

After about two weeks, though, she began to realize what a sweet deal she had. My parents adored here and were retired. They took her to the beach in the summer and cross-country skiing in the state forest in the winter. She was about 85 pounds but, when she got so old that steps were difficult for her, my father would carry her up and down the stairs so she could sleep in their room at night.

When I'd come to visit, she was clearly happy to see me, but showed no interest whatsoever in going home with me when I left.

I believe dogs feel fear, joy, grief and a kind of love. But I believe they have generally good survival instincts and are, above all, opportunistic.
But how is this different than you leaving your wife and she then found a new life with a new love. Maybe, she loved you before but has moved on to start a new life with someone else. She loved you at one point but now loves someone else.
 

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My mom said that she's never seen a dog love someone so much as Rinoa loves me. Before I would let Rinoa sleep in my room, she would sleep outside by my door all night. Now she sleeps in my room with me. When Rinoa is with me and my mom and dad are calling her, she doesn't even look at them, but keeps looking at me.
 
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