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What Kind of Emotions Do Dogs Experience?

The debate about whether or not your yorkie or cocker spaniel can feel emotions and show them is a debate that has been going on for years and years and will probably continue on for years to come. Those who try to study the behavior of dogs and puppies all agree that they all have primary emotions that include fear, sadness, anger and of course joy. However; some still debate whether or not they can also experience other emotions that are more complicated such as anxiety, shyness, jealousy or even love.

Some behaviorists truly believe that they can and do experience the more complicated emotions on some level and anyone who is a dog owner has always known that they can experience some emotions very similar to humans. While the debate battles on recently the University of Vienna in their neurobiology department confirmed to many that dogs can and do experience jealousy. If jealousy then, can be experienced, why is it so hard to believe that they also experience love?

There are two basic ways in which your dog will try and communicate what they are feeling to you. One would be their body language and the other would be their vocal communication. So if you want to be able to better communicate with your dog it is probably a good idea for you to learn a few of their basic ways of communicating.

You need to understand that your dog will try to use his mouth, tail and how it is positioned and how it moves, ears, their head and how it is positioned a long with their posture to try and communicate with you. Just like with us, a dogs mouth is very expressive of how they might be feeling. A normal position for a dog is nice and relaxed and open just a bit where you can see the tongue over their teeth. This is equivalent to a person's smile.

When your dog closes his mouth this can mean that he is more alert and is paying attention to something. Once the dog starts to show his teeth it is important that you know the meaning. If the dog is showing all of his teeth as well as his gums and you notice that the skin above his nose is wrinkled, you are definitely in danger and you better stop what you are doing. Whatever you do, don't turn around and run because by nature a dog is programmed to chase whatever it is that is running.

Another thing to be aware of. If the dog is angry they will generally show the canines in the front. If they are afraid you are going to generally just see their back teeth.

Your dog will also try to communicate vocally. The different ways they try to do this is by barking, growling, whining and so on and so forth. An example would be fast barking with a pitch that is in the mid-range is a basic alarm. A slow bark with a low pitch could mean that there is imminent danger. There are a vast variety of different sounds you should tune yourself in for including yelps, howls, squeaks, whimpers and whines.

If you want your dog to be a well balanced emotionally stable dog it is important that you learn to understand the way your dog communicates with you and what his needs are. One good example is if your dog doesn't get enough exercise he could start showing signs of depression. So, just remember, your dog does have emotions and it's up to you as his owner to try and learn when they are expressing them.

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