Have you ever felt your dog feels the same emotions as we do, including happiness, sadness, fear, and even unconditional love? Although they can’t talk directly to us, dogs compensate through heightened senses of smell, hearing, sight, and intuition that help them connect with humans and the world around them. So to a certain extent, you’re right! Unconditional love is in a dog’s nature, and they don’t know how to behave differently.
The Senses of Love
Humans tend to smell differently when we feel fear, distress, sadness, happiness, or joy, and dogs can clearly distinguish these scents. When dogs spend time with people dogs learn to associate our specific smell with distinct feelings. These feelings are familiar to dogs because they experience them too, and they perceive our state of spirit very well. So not only that they understand exactly how we feel, but sometimes they know even before we do!
Smelling, Listening, Watching with Love
Some dogs have the ability to learn when we are sick. Our smell, body temperature, voice, and general demeanor lets them know that we are not well. Most dogs will often try to spend as much time on our sides until we recover. A dog’s heart rate can significantly increase when we are sad or fearful. It is scientifically proven that dogs have high levels of stress hormones when they feel that their owner or loved ones are in any type of distress.
Dogs have a heightened hearing sense and excellent auditory memory. They can recognize our voice, even without seeing us and correlate sounds and tones with distinct moods. Dogs can accurately remember sounds and link vocal signals with specific states of mind or actions. For instance, when we talk to them in a soft or high-pitched tone, they are confident that we are calm and display affection towards them or the people around us. When we speak in a low voice or we talk very loud, they will know that we are sad or upset.
Dogs associate the sounds with physical movement, and they have a high capacity to read body language even in strangers. If they feel that we might be scared, or someone might be threatening us, they will step in and defend their loved ones. If our dog thinks that we might be in danger, they will stay closer to us and guard us, will seek our attention, and they will interact less with strangers.
Love Starts with Empathy
Dogs are highly empathic by nature, and because they too understand sadness and happiness, they will almost always mirror our behavior. For this reason, they often do their best to cheer us up and let us know that they are by our side. They are genuine by nature and they always reassure us of their affection and love.
Dogs use all their senses and cleverness to our benefit without flinching and are happy to prove their usefulness towards humans, expecting love (and maybe some treats) in return. This natural innate behavior is characteristic for all dogs and if nourished properly, they can turn into the best companions anyone could ever want.