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Do Dogs Have Emotions? Here’s What We Know

Do Dogs Have Emotions? Here’s What We Know

If you ever ask a dog owner the question — Do dogs have emotions? The answer will most likely be — absolutely yes! If you have been living with dogs for a while you simply cannot answer differently. Each time you come home you see the excitement they experience when finally seeing you. You know that they are capable of so many emotions. But what does science have to say?

Science believes that dogs do in fact have feelings, however that they are on a more basic level. The emotional capacity of a grown dog is comparable to the one of a 2.5 year old child.

Dogs reach their full emotional maturity at about six months of age. That can however depend on the breed and sex of the dog. Some may reach it sooner, others however can also experience it later.

What emotions do dogs have?

If you are interested to learn the most common emotions that dogs experience, keep reading.


If your dog is feeling joyful, you can usually see it all over his face. They feel this way when they are doing their favorite activities like walking outside or cuddling with you on the couch. Your dog will be in a visibly good mood with his eyes sparkling.


The purest thing about dogs is how easy it is to surprise them. Dogs have a healthy appetite for experiencing new things and will be completely mesmerized with anything new or unexpected.


Our dogs can also experience some negative emotion. Disgust definitely is one of them. It’s closely related to distress. If your dog is experiencing some of these emotions, don’t worry. It just shows that your pup has a healthy emotional range.


Just like with any other animal, dogs can also experience fear. Fear is deeply rooted in our instincts and need to survive. It can be provoked in stressful or scary situations. Fear can also be displayed as a form of guilt. To read more about the guilt-complex in dogs, click here. But in short, many experts believe that dogs do not feel guilt, but instead just the fear of being punished.


Dogs can experience saddens not only because of themselves, but because they are sensing sadness in you. Dogs can be sad for a number of reasons, so if you ever notice your dog feeling down, try cheering him up with treats or a good exercise.


Anger is as natural for dogs as it is for us. While it isn’t the most positive emotion, it is still healthy to experience it. It just shows that your emotional range is normal. Anger or aggression in dogs can be triggered by different factors. Dogs feel especially angry when they feel that their territory is being attacked. That’s why they freak out if another dog comes to your yard or tries eating their food. Thankfully, this behavior can be trained so it won’t get out of hand.


Curiously killed the cat. However, the dog thrived on it. Dogs love to experience new things and are incredibly interested in everything surrounding them. They love to sniff around and explore what’s out there. However, they are far more careful than cats.


Envy and jealousy come hand in hand for dogs. While dogs do sometimes cross the line with their jealousy, these emotions are fundamental for canines. All dogs experience envy. Whether they see you close to another dog, or feeding the cat their favorite snack. Dogs will just go off and let their jealousy take them over.


Do dogs feel love? Well, every dog owner knows the answer to this! Dogs are incredibly capable of feeling love. To read a full article on this topic, click here. Dogs are not only amazing at feeling love, but in showing it too. The love you receive from a dog is the purest one you will ever experience.


Yes, dogs can have feelings! However, their emotional range isn’t as wide as the one of a human. However, that doesn’t mean that the love our dogs feel for us isn’t deep. That just means that they don’t experience some complex emotions. That has a lot to do with the fact that dogs can’t tell good from bad the way humans can. They don’t have a “moral compass” that would keep them up at night. That’s why it’s basically impossible to prove if dog’s can feel guilt.