We love this article. We always want to know what is going on in our own Doggy’s head and if they are receiving pleasure the way we think they are. Well it seems the more and more we learn, the more and more they are actually very much like ourselves!
To know whether dogs can smile as humans might smile, we need to better understand their emotional capability. Thanks to ethological research, we now know that dogs experience emotions in a basic way similar to humans. This occurs because, although not as well developed, canines have similar brain structures to we humans. Emotions are processed in the region of the brain which constitutes the limbic system. This system is present in all mammals, even if to varying capacities.
In dogs and humans, emotions are produced as a response to stimuli, but they are also related to memory. Emotions such as joy and fear are not only related to neural activity in the brain, but also hormone release. The release of these chemicals causes the emotions of an individual to change.
It has been shown that dogs can exhibit emotions similar to our own. They also experience chemical release and hormonal changes in a similar way. Both humans and dogs release a hormone known as oxytocin. This is commonly known as the ‘love hormone’ and it is released in both parties when dogs and owners interact with one another. Specifically, stroking them is shown to release more oxytocin in the dogs than other types of physical manipulation. It also helps us to know why dogs have been domesticated over other animals as “dogs and humans have been suggested to be especially good at activating each other’s oxytocimergic systems and generating oxytocin-linked effects”.
Logistically, we still have a lot to learn about the mind and feelings of our best friends. Although there are many gaps in the research, we do know that dogs have more complex emotions than many believe. They experience them in a similar way to us, but they have their own ways of conveying them.
Please let us know your thoughts and some examples you may have experienced with your dog!
Love and Woofs
Alison and JET (admin Chihuahua for HAPPY DOGGY NEWS!)