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as illustrated here:
The linked article is about facial expressions of the pictured dogs, there is no information whatsoever about proof of actual emotion.
To attribute particular emotions to dogs because of a facial expression is anthropomorphizing, judging the dog on our terms, and seems basicly disrespectful to dogs, creating value by perceiving them to be like us instead of respecting them for who and what they are.

Dogs do seem to have a wide array of emotion but I believe that they show little evidence of such poisonous emotions as guilt and self doubt, making them better than us in some ways.
The hang dog look that many people attribute to guilt (he knows he did something bad by pooping under the piano, look at his face) is most likely instead an expression of fear because the owner screams or hits in those circumstances.

I do believe dogs are capable of extraordinary loyalties and friendships that go beyond the simple equations of what they get out of the relationship, but even those friendships are not like the ones many humans have, the fair weather friend type concept. They are better than us in that respect, and should be honored for it, not judged as reflections of us.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for your very profound comment. I agree that in some cases we may just interpret facial expressions of dogs wrongly because they just look similar to humans. However, do you not believe that for most emotions there is a strong overlap between dogs and humans?

What other emotions do you not believe exist in dogs? Surely, self-doubt would require self-consciousness and that seems to be found only in a few animals such as dolphins and certain monkeys.

And what are the most complex emotions you think exist in dogs?
 

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That's a good meaty bunch of questions to be asking.
The linked article is short and silly, more of a fun thing for folks that like that sort of thing.

Back to the questions.
Humans are territorial, compete for mates, become aggressive when threatened, resource guard all sorts of things, get "shut down" if we fail too often, etc.

I don't believe my dog appreciates a beautiful sunset in quite the same way.

"Look! SQUIRREL!!!" <-- my dog's contribution of great art.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
What do you mean with your examples, aren't dogs doing the exact same things, being territorial, compete for mates etc.?

Yes, it is hard to believe that a dog would appreciate a beautiful sunset as humans do.
 

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What do you mean with your examples, aren't dogs doing the exact same things, being territorial, compete for mates etc.?
Yes, exactly that.

Sorry if I wasn't clear. I think we are extremely similar in very fundamental ways.

Even popular art, people prefer landscapes that include shelter, food, water, and a view to spot predators and prey from a distance--trees, open spaces, lake or river.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolutionary_aesthetics


Dogs and people are mammals. Even in a complex society, our fundamental motivators are the same.
 

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Dogs certainly can display fear, anxiety, happiness and joy. They are loyal and show attachment, will grieve over the loss of a friend, human or canine, and show signs of depression. I would like to think their attachment to us is love, but in reality they probably are attached more based on feelings of safety, security, and familiarity. We, many of us tend to humanize our dogs, maybe more than we should, maybe not, but whatever their emotional spectrum, they sure are great companions. As far as enjoying and appreciating the sunset, I truly doubt they can operate at that level, and even if they could, their eyesight is so primitive compared to ours, they most certainly do not see at the level we can and do. As far as appreciating art, we humans perceive different forms of art differently. I can certainly understand a dog perceiving a running squirrel as a beautiful thing.
 

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Instead of comparing dogs to humans, it's easier to get a picture if you think of them in terms of human development. They are about where a 2-4 year old is at-- a bit self-aware, capable of basic emotions like excitement, frustration, fear, contentment and anger, but not more complex emotions like pride, jealousy, guilt and spite. Capable of forming and sustaining meaningful relationships with people other than their "parent". I'd even argue that dogs have a rudimentary sense of humor, and a concern for the wellbeing of their immediate friends (if you don't believe me, whats what happens when best friends accidentally go overboard with roughhousing and you hear a yelp-- the "offender" will stop what they are doing and wait for the other dog to let them know that they are okay).
 

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The thing I admire most about dogs is their ability to live in the moment. Something we could learn from. Although of course, not knowing that you are going to die one day probably has something to do with that as well ;)

I agree that they can see beauty. Or maybe they can feel beauty. Feel the sun, feel the wind...
 

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I do think dogs can give facial expressions even if we don't always know what they are. But I think you need to look at posture also to get a better picture.
 

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I realise experts views and educated conclusions in the matter but....


When my dog tries and tries to catch a ball in the air and fails on numerous accounts...
and then she gets it..she gets it from a high flying amazing jump!
If not pride, what is it that makes her strut like a Clydesdale horse with her success?


When my cat comes over to sit on my lap and I give her some good scratches behind her ears and she is purring like a ol'57 Chev...
if not jealousy, what is it when my dog comes over, bumps the cat off my lap with her nose and places her head where the cat was just relaxing?


When my dog, whom I do not yell at, scold, or ever put my hands on out of anything but affection is laying on her bed that she has moved to the door,
if not guilt, what is it as she decides to hang her head low prior to me finding out she has a hidden torn up box of tissues under it?


When my dog takes her toy that she has played with for months away from the new cat,
if not spite, what is it when she tears it to itty bitty pieces all of a sudden?


When there was a tragedy in our home and my wife was sitting on the couch crying with her face in her hands,
if not love and compassion, what is it when my dog goes and places her head on her lap with the widest eyes,
then pushes her head with her nose down into my wifes shoulder to seemingly hug or comfort her?


These are all real incidents that have happened on numerous occasions for some and I do not discredit what professionals say but there is more to it I think than saying a dog is incapable of human emotions.
Are they mimicking?
I do not have the answer but there should be one before it is discredited altogether.


I should add that I did not click the link before writing all of this :(
 

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After clicking the link, I do not feel as if those are solid representations and emotions are shown in other ways with dogs.

Coming from someone who has taken hundreds of thousands of pictures of dogs and been looking closely at dogs facial expressions for many many years, I have seen all of those faces in times where I know for a fact the dog is not "feeling" that way.
 

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Makes me think the real question to be asked, is how our emotions different than the dog (or cat).

If I dig deep enough, I'm pretty sure my motives are the same, food, comfort, social interaction, access to resources, drive satisfaction, territory (I'm VERY territorial), and you should see me resource guard a piece of chocolate explosion cake (beware the fork).

PS. I've lived with dogs long enough that I get pretty excited when I see a running squirrel--mmmm, those things look fun to chase...
 
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I think all animals are capable of feelings and emotions.

As far as my Boston goes; he definitely has feelings. I've read that dogs are as smart as 3 year old toddlers:

He knows when I'm down; he'll come over to kiss me and sits on my lap. He gets excited when he sees new toys or treats. He whines if his toys get stuck or if he needs something. He knows to scratch the door to go out and come in. He's shy when he's around a lot of people or other dogs; he wants me to carry him. He likes watching cartoons and he loves his crate and all his sheets and toys in it (if I dare try to rearrange anything... he'll whine...), he knows the fridge has his treats so he'll sit around it if he wants something, he climbs up on a side table to look out the window that faces the garage; he likes to check and see if his dad has come home from work, and there's many more lovely things that he does.

I think their naive way of thinking and doing things like human toddlers are endearing. Just because they don't know how to do geometry or read English literature; it doesn't make them any less emotional to humans. I think their "innocence" is what makes all dogs/pets special.

Pets are like real life Pokemons, no? I like to see it that way :)
 

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I think dogs are underrated when it comes to emotion... They can read us like a book, and I swear they can eventually read the mind. I've had dogs like that in the past, just know what you want.

Pride? GSP's training for pheasant have been known to strut their stuff, like they are showing off when they figure it out and retrieve their first bird. Causes panic in some hunters, they don't think the dog will bring the bird.

Guilt? Sure, Jagger pooped on the floor a few times when he had cannon butt, not his fault - and he's never been scolded for it. The look on his face when I came in, looked like he's ready to cry. When he caught mice, doing what he was meant to do, there was definitely pride in him, whole personality changed.

When you're sad - where is the dog? Probably trying to cheer you up.
 
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