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?