When it comes to looking at the emotions dogs can experience, a good place to start is by understanding their emotional capacity mimics that of a two-and-a-half-year-old human. Dogs can feel love, joy, and fear. Alarm and fear are often synonyms.
The fur on your dog’s back is a good place to start looking if you want to determine if they feel fear or alarm. Dogs will react to a threat by waking up and exposing their ears. The hair on their back will rise if they hear or smell it. Dogs rely on their senses of sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch just like humans.
These sensory organs function in a different way than ours. For example, dogs interpret the world primarily by their sense of smell, while humans depend on their sight.
The hearing muscles of puppies do not develop until 21 weeks of age. By the time they reach adulthood, they can detect sounds up to 45,000Hz. Humans are limited to 23,000Hz. Dogs can sense the presence of an animal or person approaching them long before humans can. This is why they can be so alert or alarmed.
Each dog is unique and each breed has its own ways of recognizing danger. However, most dogs will show the following signs when they feel threatened:
- Reporting hair
- They suddenly become interested in their surroundings
- Intent listening
- Eyes and ears focused
- Hearing from different angles causes tremors in the ears
Dogs feeling alarmed: A History
When it comes to dogs feeling alarmed, we must look at their social structure. In the wild, dogs go above and beyond to establish and reinforce their role in a social group. This allows them to create clear rules as to who is the leader and who is subordinate. When looking at domesticated dogs, they have a clear sense of who their family is. Once they’ve bonded with their human, they defend them at all costs.
Canines will protect their family members no matter what. Although this is a great thing, it can sometimes be a bit too much for our furry friends to protect us. Some breeds are more protective than others. This can lead to excessive aggression in some cases. It’s why it’s important to socialize with your dog and teach him how to adapt to different situations.
Science Behind Dogs Feeling Alarm
The alarm is one of the emotions dogs feel the strongest. In fact, some dogs are bred specifically to notify or alarm their owner of a threat. Dogs instinctively notice when there is a predator or when something just doesn’t feel quite right, immediately acting as a guard.
Studies have been ongoing on how dogs feel emotions, and the causes thereof. Researchers have teamed up to study the brain of dogs using an MRI.
Their findings were groundbreaking to say the least. The brain area responsible for interpreting emotions in dogs actually has the same structure as humans. Dogs also produce the same hormones as humans (oxytocin is what makes us feel love). This allows them to feel some of the same emotions as us, such as fear and joy.
Science supports the claims that dogs recognize a poor person.
You can train your dog to deal with alarms
We, of course, want our dog to warn us of something that may be dangerous or pose a threat, but sometimes they can be a little over the top with this. With proper training and socialization, most people should be able to teach their dogs the difference between a friend and a foe.
Some breeds, such as Newfoundlands and Bernese Mountain dogs, are friendly and protective dogs that make excellent guard dogs.