Just Like Emotions, Our Dogs Know Our Every Move

Hey, everyone! As you know, I do my best to keep up-to-date with all the dog-related studies. There was one interesting and intriguing story that came to my desk this week. And I think you’ll appreciate hearing about it.

So, that’s what we will be talking about today.

If you have been following my column, you have learned that dogs can sense our emotions. The fact that they can sense emotions isn’t “new news” to scientists. But research published Tuesday shows dogs rush to their pet parent’s side if they hear a cry or a whimper.

Dogs have been found to rush to do anything to please their pet parent and soothe their emotional pain. That’s another step in the right direction in fully understanding our dogs.

The study was relatively small with only 34 dogs being involved. So, this is not yet considered “solid” research. But, it’s certainly a start.

This study has moved scientists in a direction to better determine what types of behavior affects our dogs. There is a specific interest in this research- service dogs. Those with disabilities depend heavily on their service dog. If we, as scientists, could understand what influences our dogs, our dogs could help their human companions even more than they already are.

Aside from science, it’s fantastic to know dogs are sensitive to our emotions. It’s comforting to know they truly care how we feel. Of course, those of us who have dogs have believed this all along . . . but now research is showing it.

Another Canine Behaviorist, Aaron McDonald in Birmingham, Alabama, has reinforced these findings. He explained that he has seen dogs experiencing feelings of empathy with humans.

His main example involves a toddler. McDonald has a client who has a toddler at home who absolutely loves to climb. We all know toddlers and climbing don’t always mix well. Right?

And, when our toddlers are climbing we are continuously worried about them falling. McDonald has observed each time his client’s toddler crawls, their family dog will stand behind her to brace her fall . . . without any instruction to do so.

Their family dog is concerned about their toddler falling. He wants to protect her and make sure all is okay. That might not sound like a huge deal, but this opens a whole new aspect in the field of canine behavior. This shows emotional and social attachment to their family.

McDonald has also found, throughout his research, that dogs mentally record their owner’s behavior, any patterns in that behavior, daily routines . . . and it might go all the way down to understanding how much time is spent on each behavior.

Our dogs can determine what each of our facial expressions mean. They understand patterns in our speech. Our dogs pay so much attention to everything that scientists are now comparing them to an FBI investigator.

That’s the summary of the research that has hit my desk this week. Of course, it goes further than that, but I won’t bore you with all the scientific jargon. If you are interested in the actual study, I am happy to send it to you.

I want to add this week: I am receiving many, many e-mails, between 50 and 100 per week. If I don’t respond to you immediately, please don’t think I am ignoring you. I am responding to e-mails in the order they are coming in.

As always, thank you all for your support.

Until next time!

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