Can Dogs Feel Concern?

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Introduction

Concern is one of the emotions that binds humans together. Showing concern for one another and helping each other is huge when it comes to making and maintaining relationships. It helps you to not feel so alone in a world that might seem big and scary sometimes. Friends and family showing concern and understanding can make a dark situation so much better, but there’s one family member that you might not have thought of when it comes to showing concern. 

Have you ever wondered if your dog can understand and show concern for you? Many dog owners would say yes! That’s something that makes having a dog so wonderful, as they can comfort you in times of need - but is that because humans attribute concern to a dog’s actions, or does your dog really feel concerned? The answer is difficult to pin down.

Signs Your Dog Might Be Concerned About You

So, what do people generally observe when they think their dog is concerned about them? There are a lot of different answers, and it’s up to your interpretation for the most part. Since dogs can't ask you how you're feeling, you have to watch their body language. 

If your dog seems to be keeping a close eye on you, cocking their head to one side and looking at you, or maybe even jumping up on you, they might be showing they know something is going on. Your pup might even try to give you "kisses" by licking you to cheer you up. Dogs are intuitive, so they always seem to want to cheer someone up when times are rough.

While every dog certainly reacts differently, depending on their personality, they might show a few other signs if they notice something is off about you. You might notice them following you around and watching you closely. They may even jump up and try to sneak in a few snuggles with you. Dogs seem to have no trouble communicating their want to comfort you.

Body Language

Here are some signs you might notice if your dog is wanting to comfort you:
  • Staring
  • Head tilting
  • Jumping up
  • Licking

Other Signs

Here are some other signs you might notice if your dog is wanting to comfort you:
  • Following you around
  • Watching you closely
  • Sneaking in snuggles with you

History of Dogs and Concern

Concern has been an emotion that is mainly attributed to humans. Humans show concern through words as well as actions. You might ask if someone is doing okay, or take someone a meal if they are feeling sick. Showing concern has been around as long as humans can remember and is a big part of many cultures. It helps you feel understood and connected while maybe even easing your burdens, a bit.

As far as dogs being able to show concern, dogs in history have been known to be protectors. They've been used for protection for many, many years and will not hesitate to guard members of their packs. This might tie back to times before dogs were domesticated and lived as wolves in packs to fight for survival. Other than that, there isn’t much recorded history about dogs and concern. 

However, many dog owners have reported that their dogs help them through rough times with snuggles and simply being present when their owner needed a friend. There are also news stories about dogs protecting young children who are lost in the woods, as well as dogs generally comforting people. There are countless stories like this that show dogs can protect and show what humans might call “concern”

In one of these stories, a dog owner talked about how her pup seemed to sense when she lost a family member. She was pretty devastated over the loss, and she went in another room to think. Her pup followed her right in and seemed to be able to tell his owner was in pain. So, her usually unaffectionate dog stayed with her and even tried to cuddle a bit. To her, this demonstrated that her dog really did know something was wrong and could feel a sort of concern for her.

Science Behind Dogs and Concern

Scientifically, as mentioned, concern is probably more of a human emotion. However, dogs are very intuitive. They study human body language and routines. So, if something changes, they know. They might even know before you communicate anything to your friends or family members. 

Dogs also have very strong senses of hearing and smell. So, they can hear what you're up to, and they might even be able to smell changes in your body - like hormones, sweat, illness, and more. So, it's not surprising that they would be able to tell if something is different about you.

Training Your Dog to Feel Concern

When it comes to training your dog to feel concern, that isn’t really possible. Dogs are intuitive and sensitive on their own, and they come that way. Probably the closest way to ensure your dog knows you and your habits is to form a strong bond with them. 

A few great suggestions for building a strong bond with your pup include playing games with them and teaching them tricks. It provides quality time together, and you get to know one another more. It's also important to praise your pup often. Dogs equate praise with a reward, so if you praise them often, they’ll love you even more. 

Lastly, they mention being unpredictable. As mentioned above, dogs are good at studying human behaviors and habits. So, when you are a bit unpredictable, your dog has to be more in-tune with your behavior. So, they get to know you even better.

Can dogs really feel concern? We’re not really sure, but it is comforting to know that many pups will comfort you in times of need.

How to React to Your Dog Showing Concern:

  • Do not turn them away.
  • Reward them with praise and afftection for caring for you.
  • Spend quality time with them to strengthen your bond further.