Dogs are capable of having emotional feelings. They are pack animals with strong emotional and social connections to other dogs. As a result they have their own social rituals with some of the behaviour similar to humans.
Emotional maturity level of Dogs
It has been researched that the mind of a dog is roughly equivalent to that of a 3 year old human child. As a consequence, dogs exhibit emotions which are similar to a 3 year old child but don’t display complex emotions which only adult humans are capable of.
A 3 year old human child can exhibit simple human emotions like fear, anger, happiness, sadness etc. Innocent and honest affection is also a powerful emotion due to which we love children. All these emotions are also exhibited by Dogs. Of course it takes considerable time by humans to really know and understand their dogs where they are able to really ascertain what real ‘mood’ their dog is exhibiting.
Guilt or Fear?
Some of us believe that our dog is capable of experiencing guilt. Sometimes you see your dog hiding from you and being unnaturally silent. And then you spot the mess that your dog has created by tearing away your sofa cushions the entire day. While you may believe that the dog is experiencing guilt but he is really just ‘afraid’ of what punishment is in store for him. Dogs cannot experience complex emotions like guilt but they clearly exhibit a sense of fear when they do things which are not normal or for which you tend to punish him.
Humans start developing complex emotions like jealousy, contempt, guilt only when they are nine or ten years old. That simply means that dogs don’t feel any such emotions. And that just means that dogs are full of positive emotions like affection while being insulated from the ‘sick’ emotions that humans experience. Isn’t this the reason why our dogs are so endearing to us?