Dogs Really Do Know How You Feel

I was sitting on the couch one day, doing my homework, and because it was so very entertaining (ha) I yawned. My dog in turn yawned back at me. It made me think about the times when he sat by me when I was sad when he comforted me, and whether dogs could be empathetic to humans or not. I started looking on the internet to see if this could be true.

I found scientists that asked the same question and researched this topic.  These scientists took 29 dogs(with owner permission of course) and tested them with audio stimulants. These audio stimulants were of familiar and unfamiliar people yawning. During this experiment, 12 of those dogs yawned. Out of those 12 dogs, more dogs yawned at familiar people than unfamiliar people.  These results, however, differ from results of a previous study done by different scientists. These different scientists used a different study, though. In conclusion, dogs are empathetic to humans when they yawn, but that could change when it comes to emotions.

It does not, however. There has been a research done to see whether dogs are curious of the sound of crying or if they are just curious. It was found that when people hummed, the dogs weren’t as nearly inclined to approach the person as much as they did when the person was crying. Some scientists explain this as emotional contagion. In this research, psychologists asked to test 18 dogs in the owners home with a stranger. The psychologists made the owners and strangers go through the tests of making different noises including crying. What they found was that the dog would not only approach its owner who was upset, but it also approached the stranger who was upset. This goes to prove that not only can dogs be empathetic, they can also be sympathetic.

Most scientists don’t want to believe that dogs could be empathetic. I’m no scientist but I think they can. Based on Pluto always trying to comfort me and sometimes yawning when I do, I believe they are empathetic. I will admit that not all dogs are empathetic, just like humans. All in all, I believe dogs have the ability to be empathetic.

In conclusion, many researches have been conducted to see if these dogs that humans have called friends and workers for thousands of years. They have found that dogs are empathetic to your feelings, so next time you are feeling bad cuddle up to your four legged friend.

What are some other animals that are empathetic? Have you ever noticed this behavior? Why might this behavior be present in dogs?

4 thoughts on “Dogs Really Do Know How You Feel

  1. I thought that this was very interesting so I decided to do a little research myself, since I do not have a dog. On the link below is a site about a study that talks about how humans have a part in their brain called a “voice box”. Scientist have shown through brain scans on dogs that they too have a “voice box”. They found out that a dogs “voice box” processes the same as a humans. The same scientist that did this research also did an earlier one stating that humans can tell the difference between a dogs happy bark and their sad bark.

  2. This blog made me think about the times that I’ve shared with my dogs and the emotional rollercoasters they’ve been through with me. I also thought of who was sitting on my lap kissing me while I was crying, my dogs. I believe that dogs are both sympathetic and empathetic. I believe that dogs can tell how you feel and they do try to comfort you just like a human being. Dogs are a man’s best friend anyways! This website shows the benefits of owning a dog-

  3. I agree with you, I have noticed this behavior in my dogs of the past, it’s like they know what you’re thinking, I believe this is the case because of the strong relationship you develop with your dogs. Leading back to your first question I think almost all pets behave in this way, it might be more present in dogs because of how much more active they are compared to other animals. Take cats for example, I don’t believe they would be as aware of how humans are feeling because of how monotone and out of the way of ordinary life, although there would probably be some sort of connection there, it just wouldn’t be as strong.

  4. This is very interesting, I have noticed that my dogs act differently depending on my mood. Sometimes when you are sad a dog will like you and cuddle up to you. This has an emotional impact on us as well, often times we feel better knowing we have an animal (friend) there for us. One of the problems with this though is sometimes dogs will be rewarded for aproaching people so it could just be so they get something. A dog may also know that when their owner is crying they may scream so they feel if they comfort them right away then they screaming or other behaviors that may scare the dog won’t happen. Nobody really knows for sure how a dog is f eeling if it is sympathy or something else because dogs can’t talk to tell us what they feel. I agree though that they have the feeling of sympathy.

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