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Old 05-18-2005, 04:37 PM
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Lightbulb The Emotions of Canines

I suspect many of you, being dog lovers see what I see in my dogs....as was discussed on another message board, a sense of humor. I see other emotions too and have tried not to attribute excessively or completely my own projection of those signs of emotions. However, I could never discount them as symbolic or as some obscure representation of emotions. They look too much like we do when they display the many types of emotions, body language, facial expressions.

I would argue with myself sometimes, trying to reduce their similarities to us as illogical, in that they couldn't be as complex as we are because their intelligence isn't as sophisticated as ours, nor are their experiences really the same. I knew they experienced emotions, but to what degree and how in line with ours were they? But their body language, facial expressions and context of these demonstrations coincided so perfectly with what was happening, (play-joy, scolding-dejection, grieving-sadness, mistake-embarrassment, anger, fear etc...) that I was hard pressed to really be able to deny them...any of them.

I now believe that dogs experience each and every one of the emotions that we do, to some degree of intensity or another. Perhaps with more intensity because they lack the editing that we inject into our emotions by way of our more complex life experiences AND social structure. What lies behind them, as far as complexity or causation probably varies, as it does between individuals anyhow. But, I don't believe that their emotions are as far removed from ours as once was thought. What's more, is that this goes across the board of all mammals. All mammals share common body language and facial expressions in conjunction with the many emotions, as was noted by Darwin.

What do you think about this, and why?
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Old 05-18-2005, 04:50 PM
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i like to think Renee's qoute about we are all kin fur and skin says it all..i think they feel what i feel..in fact..i know they do. I think they know some stuff we don't as well. sometimes the communication is expressed differently..i learned a few years ago that a dog yawns it means he is confused and doesn't understand the situation..when i read that it made all the sense in the world..i see it all the time now..and when my dogs are truly content and happy..and feeling loved..they make a sucking swallowing sound. The horse whisperer (the real guy) mentioned it about horses and dang if my dogs don't do exactly the same thing...it is us that need to learn their langauge..as much as we expect them to learn ours.
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Old 05-18-2005, 05:08 PM
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Thanks, Smkie. That just occurred to me one day when I was contemplating all the inequities we place on our fellow creatures' backs.

I think it takes and incredible amount of hubris to think that we have the sole rights to intelligence, rational thought, emotion, language. We don't understand our fellow creatures, therefore they must be inferior to us in mental capacity has been the western dogma. That makes as much sense as believing that those of a different color or cultural practices aren't as "civilized" or capable as we.

Science be damned. Once upon a time "scientists" believed the sun circled the earth; now we know better. Science never has all the answers and shouldn't be treated with such reverence. Science takes itself much too seriously and chooses to ignore the fact that things exist whether Science acknowledges their existance or not. "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,Than are dreamt of in your philosophy."

--From Hamlet (I, v, 166-167)
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Old 05-18-2005, 05:41 PM
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This is interesting as I've always thought my dogs had a great range of emotions. Like children, the more they have been spoken to the more they understand. The bigger our sense of humor...theirs grow. It's always amazed me the number of words and jesters my dogs understand. Since I always loaded the dogs into the car for trips to town they always would get all excited without me saying a word. When they couldn't go with me they seemed to know. My one female, Copper Fox was with all others in the hallway when I came down stairs once...they all looked up with anticipation , but Copper looked at my shoes saw heels and just sighed and all put their heads down. Daughter always said she heard the clicky heels. I've got another story....but will post later.
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Old 05-18-2005, 06:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bubbatd
This is interesting as I've always thought my dogs had a great range of emotions. Like children, the more they have been spoken to the more they understand. The bigger our sense of humor...theirs grow. It's always amazed me the number of words and jesters my dogs understand. Since I always loaded the dogs into the car for trips to town they always would get all excited without me saying a word. When they couldn't go with me they seemed to know. My one female, Copper Fox was with all others in the hallway when I came down stairs once...they all looked up with anticipation , but Copper looked at my shoes saw heels and just sighed and all put their heads down. Daughter always said she heard the clicky heels. I've got another story....but will post later.
I know... Copper knew just by the "clicky heels" that she wasn't going anywhere. And the other dogs read her language or read her mind or however they communicate (and they do!) and just went with the flow. Needless to say, those were the goldens. If there was a lab there, they'd still be jumping in your face saying "I don't care! I don't care! Take me with you! Take me with you!"
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Old 05-18-2005, 06:31 PM
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On one of my trips to the grocery , I had Bushwacker, Bear, Copper and I.B. in my Trooper....I could always trust them not to jump out. When I left the grocery, there was Copper in the lot next to my Trooper, with the others heads out of the window saying " Oh God, what has she done" !!!!! As I got to the car, ready to scold her, here was a huge pile of poop near the rear wheel ..... poor girl had to decide the worst of the 2 evils !!! Needless to say, I didn't scold her... Gave her a hug, cleaned it up and off we went. I also was able to put grocery bags in with them ....only one problem. I glanced once (not that trip) in my rear view mirror and saw 3 golden eyes with horror on their faces, and there was Bubba with a cookie in his mouth !!! His face was definitely , what did I do, what did I do !!!! I pulled over, resealed the bag and that was the end of that trick. They're sooooooooooooo special !!!!!
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Old 05-18-2005, 06:39 PM
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I truly think dogs have a better understanding of the ability to love and forgive then we ever will. I will never understand the people who hate dogs. What a horrible handicap to live with My dogs have emotions and I think that they are deeper than mine.
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Old 05-18-2005, 08:46 PM
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Doberluv, you've GOT to read this book: Minding Animals by Marc Bekoff.

Dr. Bekoff is a scientist-turned-activist. I had the pleasure of meeting him and his dogs when he was teaching at CU. Brilliant guy. His conclusion is that yes, he believes animals experience emotions. They may not experience them in the same way we do, but that doesn't make their feelings any less valid. You may or may not know that the scientific community tends to frown on anthropomorphizing animals, but Dr. Bekoff's point is that if this is what we have to do to put them into a "frame" so we can understand them, then there's nothing at all wrong with it. A wonderful book.
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Old 05-18-2005, 10:35 PM
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I've often wondered what kind of framework different animals use to try to understand US!

For that matter, we can't understand each other without a framework of our own experiences. Every way I look at the issue just brings me back to the concept that there is very little appreciable difference - only slight variances - in any of us who crawl, run or fly within the confines of the Earth.
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Old 05-19-2005, 05:47 AM
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I think that domestic dogs learn to an extent, their emotional behaviour from us! As we become the pack leader they pick up on our behaviour as to what is acceptable and what is definatley not accepable! I mean Gus has learnt behaviour that has no equal in wild dogs! He actually lifts up his top lip and smiles at me!! This is a sign of anger / agression in wild or domestic dogs and when my mums dog Barley is visiting he actually sees this as agression, but Gus has learnt this from me because I smile at him and now he sees it as a positive thing (and wonders what Barley's problem is!!)!
I know for a fact that he laughs too! And I have the pictures in my gallery to prove it!!
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