Dogs have been man’s (and woman’s) best friends for thousands of years. They make us laugh with their funny personalities and behaviors. In many cases, people give human emotions to their pets.
You might think that your dog can distinguish when you feel sad or happy. Dogs are intelligent animals, and they can pick up plenty of emotional cues from you. Let’s find out whether a dog knows if you are feeling sad.
Do Dogs Know When You Are Sad?
Dogs are very aware of small changes or sudden changes in their owner’s emotions, facial expressions, behavior and body language. It is especially the case that they are able to pick up on negative emotions. As a result, it will usually be the case that your dog is at a minimum aware that something is not quite right when you are sad.
Changes that dogs can pick up on include changes in your voice, smell, body language and facial expressions.
If your pup has ever given you a comforting lick or a reassuring snuggle when you feel a little blue, you might think that she can recognize sadness.
Many studies have found that dogs can recognize human emotions. Some researchers have found that dogs have brain capacities that are similar to toddlers, especially when it comes to understanding vocabulary, emotional intelligence, and mental abilities.
Other studies have shown that dogs are sensitive to emotional contagion, which means they will respond to your emotions without fully knowing what is happening. Emotional contagion is a form of social behavior. These emotions can be shared between a dog owner and their pup in explicit and implicit ways.
For example, when you show signs of sadness, your dog might try to mimic that same behavior. A dog doesn’t understand sadness, but he can pick up some of those signs of feeling blue. Since he can spot a change in your behavior, your dog will try to provide you with a bit of comfort.
When a person comforts an individual, that is known as empathy. There is debate about whether animals can be compassionate.
Some researchers believe that animals just mimic their owner’s behavior. However, you might spot a few signs of this empathic behavior in your puppy. Your dog might put his head in your lap, lick your hand, or provide an outstretched paw.
Along with that, some dogs do the opposite, and they might give you a little more space. Like some people, these dogs understand that you may need time to be alone. They will come back when they can sense that the owner is ready for their company.
Some dogs might try to cheer you up in their own way. She could drop the ball at your feet or encourage you to take her for a walk. Your dog uses different methods to distract you from any bad news. While your dog doesn’t understand those sad feelings, he will try his best to divert you from those feelings.
It is important to be aware that dogs are in fact said to have the cognition of a 2 year old. So, while dogs can pick up on your sadness, there is only so much that they are able to understand. And their best role usually will be in providing support
Why Doesn’t My Dog Comfort Me When I Am Sad?
It may be the case that your dog does know that you are sad but that your dog does not want to bother you. It is very common for dogs to mirror their owner’s body language. In this case, you dog might be pretending to be sad as well. If you want to encourage your dog to comfort you when you are sad, you can use positive reinforcement training by rewarding your dog, with a treat, whenever your dog does come and comfort you.
If your dog doesn’t show any signs of comfort when you are sad, try not to take it the wrong way. In some situations, your dog is trying to understand your emotions.
There are many reasons why your dog will not comfort you. She might feel intimidated, anxious, or confused. In some ways, the dog could feel responsible for your change in an emotional state. A few dogs might think you are okay and don’t need any comfort.
Many times, your dog might just feel confused. If you are sad, your puppy probably doesn’t know why you are acting that way. Your pup will turn to tilt his head and look at you. It is not that your dog doesn’t love you, but he wants to assess the situation.
On the other hand, your dog could feel a little anxious. Most dogs have a routine. If you are usually a happy person, your dog expects you to act in a certain way. However, you might want to spend more time inside or cry at unexpected times when you are sad. That behavior change from you can cause your dog’s anxiety levels to increase. As a result, you could notice your pooch pacing or crying to herself.
Some dogs are just intimidated by your feelings of sadness. They could think you are sick or there is another problem with you. With that, your dog could try to avoid you, especially if you cry.
Once again, your feelings of sadness could trigger an unwanted response in your pup. They might try to avoid you because they don’t know how to respond to your unhappiness.
Finally, some dogs think that you are okay. He could be too preoccupied in his world and doesn’t know that you are upset.
Remember that some dogs will show signs of comfort, while others might ignore you. It doesn’t mean that your dog loves you any less. It might be more tied to the individual personality of your pup. People act in a similar way. Some will put on big displays of emotions, while others might feel that they don’t need to provide you with any comfort.
Do Dogs Understand When Humans Cry?
There is research that has shown that dogs become distressed when their owner’s cry.
If you are upset and cry, you might notice your pup responding to your actions. Dogs are sensitive to your body language, emotions, and behavior.
Your dog will react to specific cues in the environment. As a pet owner, you know that sympathy and empathy are instinctual behavior that you show towards your dog. In some ways, we hope that our fur babies provide that same level of reassurance.
If you have shown those comfort levels to your dog, it can encourage her to express those behaviors back to you. While dogs might not understand why you cry, they understand certain body language cues.
Dogs are known to distinguish between happy and angry emotions. While they don’t know precisely what they mean, they can tell the difference between a happy and sad person. When you cry, your dog knows that something is wrong with your behavior.
As you cry, there is a change in your voice. There are certain areas of the brain that process how a voice sounds. Dogs have a similar “voice area” in their brains as humans. That part of the brain can process emotional information via sound. In other words, your dog does know the difference between a happy and sad voice.
Dogs use their voices, like our verbal cues, as a way to communicate with each other. You are part of the dog pack. When your voice sounds stressed or depressed, your dog will know that something is wrong with you.
Dogs explore the world with their noses. You will notice that a dog will sniff the air. When she does that, she tries to assess signals about the environment. As you cry, you’re releasing pheromones into the air. Your dog can pick up that scent.
Once again, she might know why you’re crying, but she can sense a change in the environment. With those clues about your emotional situation, you could see a difference in your dog’s behavior.
Body language is very important in a dog pack. From the way he holds his tail to the position of the ears, body language can say a lot about how a dog feels. Your pup will notice those same cues with you. If you are lying down and crying, your dog can sense that something is not right.
All of those visual signs help your dog to determine your mood. When you cry, your body language becomes crucial for your dog. He doesn’t understand your sadness, but he can pick up on any changes to your body language.
Along with sensory factors, some dogs just seem to be more attuned to their owners. There have been plenty of studies that have shown dogs can react to human emotions.
However, none have decisively answered why or how your dog knows to respond to your feelings. If your dog comforts you when you are sad, you don’t need a reason why. Just allow your furry friend to try to cheer you up.
How do dogs comfort you when you are sad?
Typical ways that dogs will try to comfort you when you are sad are by actually mirroring your own body language. They may do this by doing things such as crying or whimpering or bowing their heads.
However, some dogs will respond to you being unhappy by doing things such as giving you extra attention, affection or licking away your tears.
When you are grieving, dogs can be a great source of comfort. They can provide companionship and unconditional love when you are feeling lonely and depressed. Dogs can sense when you are sad and will often try to cheer you up with their silly antics.
They may also mourn with you, sharing in your grief and offering silent support. Studies have shown that spending time with a dog can help reduce stress and anxiety, lower blood pressure, and improve overall cardiovascular health.
Dogs can also help to ease loneliness and isolation, and provide a sense of purpose and routine. For many people, a dog is a loyal friend who is always there for them, no matter what.
Dogs and depression
Something to be aware of is that since dogs tend to mirror their owner’s body language, if their owner is sad for too long, it can result in the dog displaying signs of depression which can impact the health of your dog.
It is important to take measures to prevent this by doing things such as regularly exercising your dog and taking time to train and play with the dog.
Symptoms that the dog may be depressed can include not eating as much food or having a lower appetite, sleeping more than usual, avoiding eye contact, seeming to be unhappy, or being withdrawn in general.