Can Dogs Feel Acceptance?

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Introduction

We have all seen the incredible videos where doggos care for other animals, even if it seems to be ridiculously unnatural. Whether a momma dog "adopts" a baby bird, a piglet, or even a cheetah (true story), the idea that these opposite animals (especially opposite on the food chain) are in fact able to create bonding relationships is quite astounding - especially when we humans can have such a hard time getting along with one another.

As sensitive and in-tune creatures, dogs have the ability to feel happiness and joy, and use behavioral signs and body language to give us some insight into what they are feeling. While humans are able to show and feel acceptance, what about our pups? As man's best friend, are dogs able to feel acceptance? And if so, are we able to tell if dogs are feeling acceptance? Read on to find out!

Signs Your Dog Feels Acceptance

If we look closely at our dog's body language, behavior, and signals, it is actually quite remarkable how good our pups are at communicating how they feel, even without the ability to verbally tell us. There are a number of nonverbal signals and behaviors that we exchange with our furry friends that initiate and communicate positive feelings. 

Dogs are very in-tune creatures and are receptive to our feelings, the environment around them, and the way we humans treat them. Ultimately, it is important for us understand how our dog is feeling based off of it's behaviors so that we can be more in-tune with our pups wants, desires, and needs. 

There are a couple of common signs you may notice when your pup is feeling particularly accepting, lovable and open. Cuddles, hugs, and kisses are very obvious signs that your pooch is feeling particularly lovable. Whether your dog drooling all over the home, slobbering on your face, or jumping on your body and around the house, these apparent signs indicate that your doggo loves you and is accepting of you as an owner. 

Dogs will similarly use the same behavior when creating bonds with other animals, animals they accept as their best buddies. Closeness is also an indication that your pup is accepting of you or a friend. Just like humans, dogs love to be loved! A loving and accepting dog will take any cuddling opportunity they can get. 

Body Language

Some signs of your pup's acceptance may include:
  • Paw raised
  • Tail up
  • Raise ears
  • Wag tail
  • Jumping up
  • Panting
  • Barking
  • Alert
  • Tongue hanging

Other Signs

Some other signs that your pup is feeling particularly accepting may include:
  • Licking you or your face
  • Excited behavior
  • Having the zoomies
  • Cuddling
  • Playful behavior
  • "Mothering" behavior
  • Following you or another around

The History Behind Dogs Feeling Acceptance

Dogs, as in-tune creatures, have an innate ability to feel and exhibit fairness. Researchers believe that this ability was not learned from humans, but, in fact, potentially amplified by the human relationship. Through domestication and through the result of our adoption of dogs into our daily lives, dogs have learned greater acceptance of inequitable treatment.

Research also shows that dogs have the emotional capabilities of a two or three-year-old human toddler. So while dogs may not be as developed as us humans are, they do have primitive aspects of empathy and fairness, and this can be seen through the relationships dogs have with other animals. While dogs, especially female dogs, tend to be supportive of other animals, this is mostly due to an innate instinct, just as it is when dogs take care of their pack members.

The Science Behind Dogs Feeling Acceptance

Dr. Stanley Coren, a psychologist, explored just why and how dogs are able to accept other species, lending some insight into the hearts of our furry friends. Curiously, female doggos are more likely to adopt other animals, and the animals they choose to adopt are usually young animals. Ultimately, Dr. Coren "boils down" dogs' ability to accept others to instinct and biology. 

All animals, including humans, have pheromones. Pheromones are natural scents that we give off, and they communicate certain behaviors and signals to other animals.

For instance, certain pheromones can indicate how young an animal is or if an animal is in heat. We often find female dogs respond to these pheromones and start to mother these youngins as if they were their own. Once an animal has been accepted, a permanent bond and loving relationship can be established. 

Further, dogs are social creatures by nature and they crave interaction with others, including humans and other animals. Dogs are capable of feeling lonely and isolated, and prefer the company of other beings. While dogs ultimately would rather socialize with other dogs, they will form a bond with a non-dogs if the right circumstances are present. 

The bottom line? Dogs do, in fact, feel acceptance, maybe even to a greater ability than humans. We think we can all agree: we don't deserve dogs.

Training Your Dog to Feel Acceptance

Animal behaviorists believe that dogs reflect their owners. If you want your furry friend to be accepting of others, aim at being gentle, social, and affectionate with your pup. This should give your doggo the idea that kindness and acceptance are encouraged, and your pup should hopefully mirror your behavior. 

The bottom line is that you need to show your new canine companion that they are part of your pack now. As your doggo's owner, you set the standards and the rules - expressing acceptance and kindness is one way to help set the standard and build a loving relationship. It’s very important to build a strong bond with your dog. 

While it is important that you are respectful and kind to your dog, dogs also need a strong leader, just as they would have in the wild with a wolf pack. Therefore, it’s equally important to let your pooch know that what you say goes. This way, your doggo will love and accept you even more.

How to React to a Dog that Feels Acceptance:

  • Don't judge, but look within your heart and accept as well!
  • Reward your pup for such loving and kind behavior with toys, treats, and cuddles.
  • Let your pup know that you feel the same way.
  • Encourage your doggo to exhibit good behavior.
  • Play with your pup to encourage a bond and acceptance.

We Want to Hear About Your Dog Feeling Accepted!