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Old 11-15-2012, 12:42 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Can dogs pick up on emotions?

Yesterday I was a mess. I had such bad anxiety, palpitation, breathing difficulty whatever...

Anyway, on top of that my dogs were anxious too. They kept horsing around even after a long walk. They wouldn't relax, wouldn't listen, paced, Zeeva would start chasing her tail, she'd bark nonstop when outside...

It made everything worse for me.

Today I'm doing well (a'H). And so are the dogs. They didn't get much of a walk but are calm, lounging, listening...

They don't behave this way if I'm sad or happy. They're normal. But when I'm anxious they seem so too...

Do you feel that dogs mimic our emotional state, to a certain extent? Or am I exaggeration/looking too much into it?
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Old 11-15-2012, 01:13 AM   #2 (permalink)
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They can absolutely pick up on your mood. I've had 2 in particular that mirrored my mood, both in the house and on the field. My first was rather aloof but still very in tune with his environment. 8 1/2 years ago when we had our son, he spent the first 61 days in the hospital and after 15 hours a day with him, we came home exhausted and often cried. He was never allowed on the furniture, but every night got on the couch between us and just stared off into space as if he was saying, "i'm here if you need me". After about 6 weeks he had to be put on tranquilizers because he rubbed off all the fur on top of his nose. My current dog reads me every day when I come home. If I'm in a good mood I am presented with a kong within a minute. If I'm not, I'm followed silently until I acknowledge him, and then he either tries to cuddle or get in my lap. The guys in my club have reminded me every day to "leave it in the car" because he is literally a mirror of my mood and energy.

My female? Not so much.
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Old 11-15-2012, 01:22 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Yes!
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Old 11-15-2012, 01:22 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Freddy View Post
They can absolutely pick up on your mood. I've had 2 in particular that mirrored my mood, both in the house and on the field. My first was rather aloof but still very in tune with his environment. 8 1/2 years ago when we had our son, he spent the first 61 days in the hospital and after 15 hours a day with him, we came home exhausted and often cried. He was never allowed on the furniture, but every night got on the couch between us and just stared off into space as if he was saying, "i'm here if you need me". After about 6 weeks he had to be put on tranquilizers because he rubbed off all the fur on top of his nose. My current dog reads me every day when I come home. If I'm in a good mood I am presented with a kong within a minute. If I'm not, I'm followed silently until I acknowledge him, and then he either tries to cuddle or get in my lap. The guys in my club have reminded me every day to "leave it in the car" because he is literally a mirror of my mood and energy.

My female? Not so much.
MMM...That's a sweet story, thanks for sharing. I hope your son is alright now...? I agree about 'leaving it in the car'...My dad always told me something similar; to compartmentalize life and your feelings so that the bad doesn't interfere with the good...But darn is it difficult to do...
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Old 11-15-2012, 01:33 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Absolutely. Sasha is so much different when I'm upset than she is when I'm not. I have these obnoxious neighbors that I'd finally had it with, and as I was sitting trying to do homework I got so mad (I'm not really one prone to get mad often, so I guess it threw her) that she put herself in her crate. Then instead of racing me to the door when I went to confront them she just stayed put. She didn't even maul me when I reentered my apartment(which is what she generally does, even if I just leave for a min).

Also when I fight with my mom, even before any words are exchanged but there's just tension, she'll start to pace. She doesn't like it at all.

She was also a big part, I believe, in ending the night terrors I was having after my dad died. That was a weird deal because at that point she still didn't trust me 100%, but one night in the middle of a night terror I got woken up by some kisses on my face and then she laid on my chest until I fell asleep. After not too long of a time of her sleeping with me they stopped. I guess we make each other feel safe, and I suppose with that kind of a connection you're just in tune with each other's emotions.

I recently watched an interesting documentary on netflix about dogs and their relationship with us. There was a study involved in part of the movie that looked at how we have basically bred them to look to us for cues. If that holds up then it would make sense that they could pick up on emotions because different emotions cause our body language to change.
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