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Do Dogs Have Emotions? (One Yorkie-Poo Guest Blogger Excitedly Reports, “Yes, We Do!”)

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Bolt, the Yorkie-Poo guest blogger, here to dish on how I am feeling!  Actually, I am here to talk about how many dogs feel. Do you believe your dog has emotions? Does he laugh?  Does he feel shame, guilt, joy, regret and grief?

Well, according to, dogs just might boast certain emotions similar to humans.

Consider this.  When you are outside playing with your dog and he is running around all over the place, panting and carrying on, has his panting ever sounded like a giggle or a chuckle to you? Well, those excited noises may very well be the dog version of laughter. A team of researchers from Sierra Nevada College actually discovered a special exhalation that dogs make when playing that is markedly different from normal panting. They even recorded some of these sounds, and in their research discovered that this “laughter” actually eased the stress of shelter dogs when they heard it played back.

Ever catch your dog getting into something he shouldn’t? (Keep a keen eye on the meat drawer in the fridge or on things resting dangerously close to the edge of the kitchen counter!)  You know the classic signs when your dog has been up to no good: lowered head, ears swept back, hunched posture. However, these actions are less associated with shame and guilt and more associated with the anticipated disciplinary action as the result of his unwanted actions.

Do dogs get jealous? A researcher at the University of Vienna discovered that dogs do have a basic understanding of fair play. A team of scientists had a group of dogs that already knew the command to “shake” with their paws. They would respond to the command whether given a treat or not. However, when they saw that some dogs were given treats while they were not, they stopped the behavior.

When it comes to grief, dogs do not express this emotion exactly as humans do, but when dogs experience a loss, they may exhibit their sadness through loss of appetite, depression, fear, and anxiety.  While most dogs will return to their normal behaviors after a couple of weeks when losing a pet companion, some may take up to six months.  You can help your pet get through his grief by keeping a normal routine for him while also working through your own grief.

Of course, dogs do know joy! Ever watch your dog romp in the dog park without a care in the world? He will exhibit his joy by bouncing and jumping in an extravagant way. He may even bark for joy!  You will see it on his face and in his actions, much like humans do their own “happy dance” when they feel the same way!

So…go figure…we do have emotions and are not afraid to express them! My emotion now?  If you could see me, you would notice I am yawning?  Bored? No way. It’s nap time!



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