Can Dogs Feel Pretty?

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Introduction

Pretty pooches are everywhere. One of the reasons we pick out a dog and bring it home is because there is something about the looks of the dog that we find attractive. Part of being a good dog owner is to keep your dog clean and groomed. Some owners even provide their pretty dogs with a wardrobe of sweaters, booties, ponchos and fun costumes for holidays.

While we enjoy the good looks of our dogs, we may assume our dogs are feeling pretty, too. We have to admit that we tend to anthropomorphize and attribute human traits to our pets. Maybe it's just that pretty is as pretty does and our dogs enjoy basking in the sun of adoration when they are looking particularly swell!

Signs a Dog Feels Pretty

It would be so lovely to have our dogs talk to us, tell us what they are thinking and share their excitement with us in words. But dogs do not have the ability to move their tongues and mouths to form words. 

With the close human-canine relationship, there are many experiences and emotions that we share with one another. As the owner of our pets, it is important to consider your dog's feelings and needs. 

You can understand how they are feeling by learning their body signals. Dogs will communicate how they are feeling by their body posture, ears, nose, mouth, tongue, tail, and behavior. When you are observant of their body language and the situation, you can anticipate their needs and support them to be happy and well-adjusted.

There is nothing as flashy as a proud dog strutting their stuff on a walk, in a parade, or at the dog show. When your dog is feeling healthy and confident, their status will show in their carriage. The dog will walk with the tail high and it will be wagging. Their head will be up and alert to the commands of the dog walker. The mouth will be open with the tongue hanging loosely. 

Their walk will have a strut with lifted paws. Your dog will be scanning the environment with a head that is moving back and forth. When your dog is feeling good, happy, and playful off the leash, you may see romping and play behavior. The dog may give you a play bow, a quick little bark, and even a smile.

Your dog may not really know how they look but when they have good health and care, they have to be feeling at their best. Dogs that are well cared for have good energy. Their coats are shiny and clean. They do not have itchy skin or bad breath. 

The well-maintained dog is pleasant to be around and garners positive attention and affection. It becomes a reciprocal positive exchange when the dog is receiving the needed care to be clean and healthy with the admiration of the loving owner. Who could help but feel pretty when they are at their best?

Body Language

Signs your dog is feeling pretty include:
  • Alert
  • Barking
  • Jumping up
  • Wag tail
  • Head turning
  • Tongue hanging
  • Play bowing

Other Signs

More clues you have a confident pooch are:
  • Having a shiny coat
  • Social behavior
  • Upright stance
  • Good energy levels
  • Head held high

The History of Dogs Feeling Pretty

Attractive people have it made. As babies, they receive more attention, less chastisement, and better presents. As adults, attractive people are more likely to get the grade, get the job, and get the girl or boy of their desires. Attractive people are more sought after for love and marriage.

From a historical perspective, women are attracted to men who can provide for them. Men are attracted to women who have a small waist and round hips, both signs of childbearing ability. In evolutionary terms, attractiveness is essential to the survival of the species as humans seek mates and have children. 

Attractiveness plays a role in the animal kingdom as well. The mating calls and struts in the animal kingdom are recognized across species. When it comes to the dog, their mating behavior is void of the courtship and mating rituals that are present in other mammals. Dogs are amoral. They are aroused by smell and will mate an available partner in heat without the mating trials of attraction.

The Science of Dogs Feeling Pretty

Dogs can experience and enjoy their good health and care. Scientists have studied the emotional life of the dog to better understand their capacity for feelings. Historically, wisdom on emotions was shaped by church doctrines that animals do not have higher levels of mental or spiritual being. 

Later, the fields of classical and operant conditioning ushered in ideas that dogs are simply acting, not feeling. Since then, we have learned that dogs have the same hormonal and chemical reactions as humans. 

For example, dogs have oxytocin, the love hormone. Dogs have many of the capabilities of the toddler child. Dogs and babies both have emotions. They experience contentment and distress. They both show fear, anger, joy, and love. 

Feelings of shame and pride do not develop in children until they are about three years old. Your dog does not have the ability to know if they are pretty or wearing a really silly costume. They do appreciate your love, and when you show them your love for how pretty they are, they are going to love you back.

Helping Your Dog Feel Pretty

Keeping your dog pretty is also part of keeping your dog healthy. Good grooming is part of giving your dog good care. There are simple things that you can do to keep your dog clean and groomed. 

Good grooming involves keeping your dog's coat brushed and clean, brushing teeth, and keeping their nails trimmed. To groom your dog, start by obtaining proper supplies. They are listed here, to help you with your shopping list:

  • Comb. Select a comb that is appropriate to your dog's coat. For example, pick a fine tooth comb for dogs with a fine coat.
  • Brush. The type of brush will depend on the type of coat. Use a curry brush with a dog with short hair and a pin brush if the dog has long hair.
  • A pH Balanced Shampoo Made for Dogs. Never use your own soap and shampoo on your dog. 
  • A Toothbrush and Toothpaste Made for Dogs. They won't like your minty stuff and you won't want a meaty taste in your toothbrush. 
  • Dog toenail clippers and styptic. 
  • Clippers with a Number 10 blade.

Do not bathe your dog daily. They do not need to be bathed more than every couple of weeks, unless they are skunked or have laid down in a mud puddle. 

Brush your dog and remove tangles and mats before the bath. Do a pre-bath clip and trim if the dog needs it. Once your dog has been bathed, rub them with towels. If you choose to use a hairdryer, set it to no heat. Then you can trim their nails and brush their teeth.

If you have trouble grooming your dog, get help - especially when it comes to trimming nails. If your dog has a patchy, itchy, or problem coat, check with the veterinarian. Your dog could have a health issue, like allergies, that can be treated.

Enjoy your beautiful clean best friend. Good dog - good owner!

How to Help Your Dog to Like Grooming:

  • Some dogs become anxious at bath time or when going to the groomer, so be aware of this.
  • Handle your dog as much as you can.
  • Touch your dog's ears, paws, legs, head, and stomach - and try to do this from puppyhood on.
  • Keep the environment calm before the bathing or trip to the groomer.
  • Go slow and be patient!

We Want to Hear About Your Pooch Feeling Pretty!