A study by the University of Washington concludes that when you leave, your dog may become sad.
A couple of months ago, we were talking about the emotions dogs feel when you leave. But how much does that really matter for your dog?
Here’s a look:
How much do dogs feel your absence?
The study in the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science found that when a husband leaves a dog, it is very hard on the dog. It doesn’t care whether the dog’s mother would feel the same.
“The main conclusion here is that if dog owners leave their animals at home too much and when they come back, their dog is sad,” University of Washington social-behaviorist Liana Van Eelen told the APS newsletter. “That’s because if the dog has no maternal connection the dog doesn’t feel sad.”
One researcher said the study shows that dogs are social creatures, and that they need close families to bond with them.
But how does it work?
What’s been the biggest issue that researchers and veterinarians have been seeing?
People leave dogs without having thought about what their dog’s feelings might be.
The reason a dog’s behavior is so much changed when people leave a pet is because humans have been teaching dogs to have emotions, said Paul Cavanagh, associate professor of psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles, in a press release.
In other words, humans teach dogs to have emotions.
But even when dogs learn to have emotions like other animals do, the behavior still isn’t normal. So they have to be adjusted.
How do you teach a dog to have emotions?
Dr. Cavanagh explains the first step:
When people show affection, they can encourage their dogs to show gratitude at the owner’s return, but that doesn’t always work. In the case of dogs who have learned that showing gratitude is a signal to please its home, if the owner has the behavior back, then the dogs might not do it.
But when this doesn’t work, they might learn that the owner is supposed to be “loving” to them. This means that the dog is not permitted to express any anger or fear in any situation until the owner returns. And then, the dog will eventually learn that its owner is a “loving” person who cares about it.
What do you do with dog’s reactions to your absence?
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