In the wonderful world of dog-human interactions, many dog parents have often wondered if their furry friends can sense their emotions. To put it simply, the answer is: yes, dogs can indeed tell when you’re anxious.

Dogs are incredibly intuitive and sensitive to the emotions of their human companions. This is partially due to their long history of domestication and cohabitation with humans, which has allowed them to become finely attuned to human behavior and emotions. There are several key ways in which dogs pick up on our anxiety:

1. Reading Body Language

Dogs are excellent at reading body language. If you’re anxious, your body language changes, often subconsciously. You may become more rigid, your movements might be jittery, or you may show other physical signs of anxiety. Dogs are capable of picking up on these subtle changes.

2. Picking Up On Changes in Behavior

Along with your body language, your behavior may also change when you’re anxious. You might become less playful, withdraw, or react differently to your dog’s behavior. Dogs can notice these shifts and may respond by becoming more submissive, more protective, or showing signs of stress themselves.

3. Sensing Changes in Physiology

Dogs have an incredible sense of smell – many times more powerful than ours. When you’re anxious, your body releases hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. It’s believed that dogs can detect these changes in our body chemistry, which alerts them to our emotional state.

4. Observing Changes in Routine

If your anxiety is causing changes in your daily routine, like altered sleeping patterns, changes in meal times, or less time for walks and play, your dog will certainly notice. Dogs thrive on routine, and disruptions can make them feel anxious or stressed.

It’s important to remember that while dogs can pick up on our anxiety, prolonged exposure to a highly stressed environment can affect their wellbeing. Dogs who live with highly anxious people can sometimes develop anxiety themselves. Therefore, if you’re struggling with anxiety, it’s not only crucial for your own health, but also for your dog’s health, to seek help and learn effective coping strategies (check out our vet recommended calming treats) .

In conclusion, dogs are remarkable creatures with a profound ability to empathize with their human companions. They are sensitive to our emotions, including anxiety, and often respond with empathy, offering comfort and companionship in our times of need. By understanding this, we can better appreciate the depth of the human-canine bond and strive to ensure the emotional wellbeing of our furry friends.

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Dog Behaviour & Training,

Last Update: April 9, 2024