In recent years several scientific studies have shown that dogs may feel similar to how humans do.
A study from Emory University in Atlanta (United States) showed that dogs feel the same as children. The level of sensitivity between them is very similar.
Dogs have the same sensitivity as a child
This is demonstrated by the study carried out by neurologist Gregory Bens who, after conducting a test with several dogs, including his own, managed to show that canines have the same sensitivity as a child.
The experiment consisted of using several dogs and putting them under an MRI scanner. Throughout the test, dogs received different types of stimuli, which generated some brain activity.
According to the research, the brain activity of the dogs increased as they received signals that related to the food or odors of known people.
Can dogs be optimistic or pessimistic?
On the other hand, a study also related to emotions in dogs showed that dogs, like humans, can be optimistic or pessimistic.
That is, when a dog is left alone at home, he is distressed and clearly demonstrates it with his barking, destroying things or doing his necessities inside.
In that sense, the investigation revealed that canines are anxious when they are left alone and, with their behavior, tend to be pessimistic.
Professor Mike Mendl is responsible for the research group at the University of Bristol (United Kingdom) that carried out the study.
In different media, he stated that his team was able to develop a new method to study pessimistic or optimistic decisions in dogs.
The researchers conducted the study with 24 dogs that had recently entered a relocation shelter in the United Kingdom.
A researcher interacted with each dog in an isolated room for 20 minutes.
The next day, he took the dog back to the room and then left him alone for a period of five minutes, during which time his behavior was captured on video.
In those five minutes, the researchers observed that the dog began to bark, jump on the furniture and scratched the door. These behaviors were repetitive in different animals.
In order to study decision-making in those same dogs, the researchers placed a bowl with food in one place and another that was empty. Both vessels were located in ambiguous places.
Dogs that ran quickly to these ambiguous places, as if waiting for the food reward, were classified as relatively optimistic while those that did not approach the bowl were considered pessimistic.
Meindl said: “We know that people’s emotional states affect their judgments and that happy people are more likely to judge an ambiguous situation positively. Our study has shown that this applies equally to dogs“.
The results suggest that behavior considered problematic for owners also has emotional significance for animals, even when the behavior itself is not expressing itself.
In addition, the possibility that some dogs may be more likely to respond with anxiety when left alone is raised.
That is important because separation-related behavior is common in dogs, therefore, predicting that behavior can be used to treat them properly so that they can achieve good well-being.
What other things can dogs feel?
Other studies have suggested that dogs may experience negative emotions as humans do, including the equivalent of certain chronic and acute psychological conditions, such as depression.
Similarly, some years ago, symptoms similar to clinical depression, neurosis, and other psychological conditions were generally accepted within what has been known as canine emotion.
On the other hand, other research reveals that dogs can also be jealous. This type of behavior, where an animal feels frustrated with what happens with another, has also been observed in primates.
In dogs, according to scientists, this type of behavior is probably due to the close relationship dogs have with humans.