Your dog's big puppy eyes might sometimes prompt you to ask why they look so sad, but researchers seem to believe that the classic sad dog look has more to do with evolution, communication and connection than with a dog's emotional health. Depression in dogs, on the other hand, tends to be more subtle.
Dogs change their facial expressions when they know people are looking at them—perhaps in an effort to communicate. For instance, canines in the study would make the classic "sad puppy face"—raising their inner eyebrows to make their eyes look larger and more infant-like—when looking into a human's eyes.
Some of the signs indicating that your dog is sad include sleeping more than usual, not wanting to play or exercise, hiding from you, laying around a lot, not eating as much, staying close to your side but not wanting to be petted, pacing, aggression, and whining.
Signs a Dog May Be Feeling 'Sad'
A depressed dog may stop eating and drinking, become lethargic and withdrawn, or their depression can manifest as anxiety, and the dog may become destructive. A depressed dog might also become aggressive, Inman says.
Signs of a Sad Dog
Lack of interest. Over grooming (such as licking areas on their paws or stomach bald) Changes in sleep pattern. Changes in appetite.
It's not unusual for dogs to grieve the loss of a person they've bonded with who is no longer present. While they might not understand the full extent of human absence, dogs do understand the emotional feeling of missing someone who's no longer a part of their daily lives.
Separation anxiety is triggered when dogs become upset because of separation from their guardians, the people they're attached to. Escape attempts by dogs with separation anxiety are often extreme and can result in self-injury and household destruction, especially around exit points like windows and doors.
Just as humans stare into the eyes of someone they adore, dogs will stare at their owners to express affection. In fact, mutual staring between humans and dogs releases oxytocin, known as the love hormone. This chemical plays an important role in bonding and boosts feelings of love and trust.
So, it is normal for your dog to sleep or rest for a majority of the day. However, excessive sleep can be concerning for any pet owner. If your dog is sleeping too much, this could indicate health issues, such as canine depression, diabetes and hypothyroidism, says the AKC.
Dogs spend much of their day snoozing, but in the hours they're awake, they probably spend time thinking about some of the same things that a 2- or 3-year-old child would: “Solving problems, what's for dinner, what's that over there?” Hare says.
Most experts agree dogs smile in response to the human smile. Dogs seem to smile more when relaxing, playing, feeling content or greeting someone they know. Dogs don't smile in response to a joke, but they may smile in response to you. Usually, when a dog smiles it is known as a submissive grin.
While there's little doubt that dogs are capable of feeling primary emotions, which include feelings such as happiness, sadness and fear, there's far less evidence that dogs experience what are called secondary emotions, which include guilt and shame, says Scientific American.
Previous research has shown that when humans cry, their dogs also feel distress. Now, the new study finds that dogs not only feel distress when they see that their owners are sad but will also try to do something to help.
Dogs get bored just like we do, so it's important to provide them with exercise, training, interactive toys, and brain games to keep them busy and entertained. Giving them appropriate ways to burn that extra energy also means your flower beds, shoes, and couch won't become unfortunate casualties.
When a dog is kissed, it means bringing our face very close to the dog's face, and this is something that not all dogs are comfortable with. From a dog's perspective, putting our face close to their faces and plastering them a kiss on the nose, mouth or forehead, may be perceived as a bite or attempt to bite.
Saying goodbye can, for some dogs, be a good ritual that calms them before you leave. Speaking in a soothing voice or simply petting them can leave them in a calmer state. This shouldn't be the only time you do this, however, so they don't use it as a trigger to begin to worry that you're leaving.
So, yes, a puppy can definitely think of you as his “mother” — that is, his provider and protector — and develop as strong an emotional bond with you as if you were blood-related. Your puppy will also quickly learn to pick you out among strangers, both by sight and through his powerful sense of smell.
Just like their human pals, dogs are likely to choose a favorite person based on a number of factors. Some of these include the person's demeanor, interactions with the dog, and how well the person helps meet their basic needs.
Another study looked at how dogs behaved with people of varying levels of familiarity - their owner, a stranger and a familiar human - and found that dogs clearly miss their owners more than anyone else, and will wait behind the door they left through in anticipation of their return.
Yes, your dog knows how much you love him! Dogs and humans have a very special relationship, where dogs have hijacked the human oxytocin bonding pathway normally reserved for our babies. When you stare at your dog, both your oxytocin levels go up, the same as when you pet them and play with them.
So, do dogs get bored? Absolutely! Doggy boredom can lead to problem behaviors, but more importantly an unhappy dog. Read on to learn the signs of boredom and tons of tips for making sure your dog is getting all the stimulation he needs.
Allocate the Time and Resources for Another Pup
You also have to keep in mind that you'll need to invest extra for essential gear — collars, leashes and crates, to name a just a few items — as well as unexpected vet visits, potential boarding and possible pet sitters and dog walkers.
Having two dogs can feel like a lot of work sometimes, but the pros definitely outweigh the cons. From easier training to better mental and emotional health (for you and your dogs!), to saving the lives of animals, there are so many solid reasons to adopt a second dog today.