You and Your Dog Share a Language – The Feelings Written on Your Faces

back-of-dog-headDogs, along with dolphins and monkeys, are known as the most empathetic animals when it comes to bonding with humans. If you’ve ever lived with a dog, there must have been a moment when you felt that your dog was ‘reading’ your feelings, or tried to cheer you up when you were down. Moreover, dogs seem to sense the critical point of a person being in need of a cuddle. With perfect timing, they find you, lick you up your face and let you know you are loved and needed.

Several scientific studies have shown that dogs really have a thing for how you’re feeling: not only that they can sense you, but they can also make a distinction among person’s emotions by looking at his/her face.
As the old saying goes: “The dog is the man’s best friend”. Furthermore, the dog is, evolutionary speaking, probably the oldest human friend – for about 30,000 years now. Scientists say that it is possible that during this time we have established some form of cross-species communication.

People are also able to read dogs emotions: you can guess by the look whether your dog feels happy, sad, guilty, angry or frightened. This is because the emotions mentioned are also primary human emotions – the first set of emotions we get to experience in our lives.

People empathize with other people better, and dogs empathize better with other dogs. A study published this year showed that dogs and humans were best at reading their own species emotions when shown a photo. Nonetheless, dogs are definitely proven to be capable of interpreting the vocal and facial expressions of humans, not to mention that they seem to read us unmistakably.

Dogs not only sense our emotions, but also pick up on them and adjust their behavior accordingly. If you manage to put your own feelings second and observe your dog when you’re feeling sad or depressed, which are situations when having support is most needed, you might notice his/her behavior changing in order to tune to your feelings. Consequently, your dog might become more subdued than usual, lose interest in toys and even refuse food.

What dogs are also good at is guessing potential human actions. They use eye contact and gaze to figure out what people are thinking, though there is no scientific research so far in support to this theory. But you know how your dog runs to get the leash as you’re thinking about going for a walk or how he flees the bathroom because he knows it is time for a bath? Somehow, they seem to guess what we’re thinking though not as intuitively as they guess our feelings.

If you wish to understand what your dog is trying to say through its face, just look at him/her, start guessing and you will understand its emotions after a while. In exchanging looks, emerges the empathy we are all naturally equipped with, though it may take time if you and your dog are new to each other. As you establish the bond, based on time spent together and therefore, special history you have with your dog, you will get better at it. Science confirms there is a shared language, though dog lovers probably already know how it works. All you need to do is to follow your intuition.

Posted by
Lenka Laskova

Lenka usually spends her time reading and writing. She loves animals and nature. In spare time, she translates poetry.