Strange But True
Dogs feel some emotions
BY BILL SONES AND RICH SONES, PH.D.
Q. Do dogs feel love and other human emotions?
A. Dogs have the same brain structures, hormones and chemical changes that produce our emotional states, answers University of British Columbia behaviorist Stanley Coren in “Discover” magazine. They even have the hormone oxytocin, which is involved with love and affection, so likely they also have emotions. “However, it is important not to go overboard: The mind of a dog is roughly equivalent to that of a 2 to 2 1/2-year-old child, who clearly has emotions but not all possible ones on the path to adulthood.” By four to six months, dogs attain their full emotional range: joy, fear, anger, disgust, excitement, contentment, distress and even love. “A dog does not have, and will never develop, more complex emotions, like guilt, pride, contempt and shame, however.” The feeling of guilt that many owners sense, as when their pet soils the rug, is really basic fear of punishment.
Q. Which creatures probably hate getting caught in the rain more than you do?
A. Rain poses a challenge for any fliers, with water drops often hitting them hard, reducing visibility and adding water weight that makes staying aloft more energy-consuming, says the “Ask Us” page of “ScienceIllustrated.Com” magazine. Luckily, when it rains lightly, many are able to navigate between the drops, especially certain quick-moving mosquito species that manage to “dance” through the air. Small slow movers, however, are often knocked down. While bigger insects generally fare better, “in heavy rains almost all insects that have not sought shelter are knocked to the ground, where they either die or take flight again once they dry off.”