According to Patricia, humans and dogs share similar brains, including the parts that control emotions like disgust, fear, anger, seeking and happiness. But what is still unclear, is whether dogs share our secondary emotions like jealousy, sympathy and guilt?
We often hear clients say, “I know my dog knows when he’s guilty. You can totally tell by his face that he KNOWS he’s done something wrong!” But before you shake your head in agreement, check out this video from DogSpies.com
As you can see in the second half of the dog video, Gidget did NOT get the treat, and yet she looks SO guilty! This video is proof that appeasement behavior is often confused as guilt. Dogs do know you are angry or disappointed, and they want to please you whether it’s their fault or not! So the next time you find a guilty look on your dog’s face, don’t make assumptions (we all know what happens when we do that, right?).
Until then, keep an open mind, and spend your time learning as much as you can about your dog’s behavior. That’s where we come in, and would be happy to help if you want to learn more. Do you think your dogs have emotions? Tell us your stories!