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The canine brain and emotions

Because human beings and canines have that very special bond that has developed over the decades, we get curiouser and curiouser about just how much that the dog is able to relate to our world. We are discovering that dogs experience many things – even emotions (although there are skeptics to this).

Is Q tired or is he feeling guilty? Only I know for sure.
Melissa L. Stoneburner

Let’s take for instance that mammals ordinarily have a hippocampus. This portion of the brain that plays a role in consolidating information acquired from the short-term memory to long-term memory and spatial navigation as well. It helps with the memory in other words.

Human and canine brains are wired similarly as was pointed out in the article last week talking about research being conducted on dogs with OCD tendencies. Since the brains are similar in nature (although the human brain is much more complex), the discoveries will hopefully help experts to find a link between the dogs with OCD and humans experiencing OCD, as well.

As far as emotions go, there is much debate as to whether or not canines experience emotions or not. What most everyone does agree upon is the fact that dogs feel the emotions of their humans, picking up on physical cues and the tone of voice being used. If their human is angry, the dog knows it!

So, does a dog feel embarrassed when they snack on the remains of the garbage or chew your child’s term paper? Some feel that yes indeed the dog hangs its head in shame when they know that they have done something wrong and others think that the dog is simply reacting to their human’s reaction to the incident.

When brains are studied, whether they are canine brains or human brains, what we discover may or may not be truisms as it is other humans that derive the information from the studies. If the humans are looking for one thing and one thing only from the study, that is how the information will be formulated.

Therefore, if those conducting the canine brain studies are dog lovers, perhaps the reveal will say that a dog has emotions. If those experts conducting the study are simply doing so for science sake and have no real attachment to canines, they may take the more scientific approach (as was revealed yesterday on and show that dogs are simply reacting and do not have the capacity to feel emotions. Everything is relevant!

So, the questions may still remain for those people wanting a definite answer about a dog’s brain and whether or not they do feel emotions. However, we are learning so much about canines the more that we look into them. They are much more in-depth than many people give them credit for!

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