Those who have or have ever had a dog will know perfectly well that when they get home their pet is waiting for them . If you are one of the lucky ones who has been able to benefit from the company of a dog, this is sure to ring a bell, because when you open the door of your home you see it arrive from the living room, in a hurry, so that it can jump on you.
Dogs are excellent companions and, although some may not understand it, they create a close relationship with their caretakers. To the point of giving his life for him. But does a dog really miss its owner when he is not there? What goes on inside his little furry head when he is absent? In today’s article you will find out.
How dogs understand the absence of their owner
I’m sure you’ve seen thousands of videos on the Internet that have gone viral and show dogs behaving like humans. Some cry when they hear sad songs, others even sing to the tune.
But do they really seem to understand that the song they’re listening to is about falling out of love? Are dogs as intelligent as humans? Possibly not, but this behavior is the result of associative learning .
Dogs have the same emotional competence as a three-year-old
Scientists have proven that, just like humans, dogs have a greater capacity to remember when there are emotional ties in those memories . And it seems to be, at least so the researchers say, that dogs have the same emotional competence as a three-year-old child.
They are capable of feeling emotions such as happiness, love or anger, and, as you may have observed yourself, they are surprised and afraid. However, according to the same study, they are not capable of feeling some socially complex emotions, such as pride.
As for the topic we are dealing with today, dogs may not understand the absence of their owner in its entirety, but they will probably miss him . According to Stanley Coren, professor at the University of British Columbia and author of the book The Wisdom of Dogs: “The emotional life of dogs is very similar to that of a two or three-year-old child. Children at these ages show love, joy, fear, anger or surprise, but they don’t usually show higher level emotions such as shame.
Dogs receive their owners more intensely when more time has passed
It’s clear that the dog gets excited when he sees his master arrive. But if he’s not there, do you know how long it’s been? The truth is that dogs can tell the difference between 10 minutes and 10 hours without having a watch.
That’s according to a study conducted in 2011 by Therese Rehn and Linda Keeling. In their research they found that, after 2 hours, the dogs acted more intensely when they saw their owners. This suggests that dogs do miss their owners when they are not around . However, there was no significant difference between the 2 and 4 hours of absence of the owner.
A special relationship between dogs and their owners
Because the relationship between a dog and a man is not just any relationship. Affection is visible on many occasions. But it is surprising that this relationship goes even further for many individuals: it becomes a therapeutic relationship.
The dog is the most used animal in the Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) , since it is a close and easily educated animal, which can help both patients from different groups: children, adolescents, elderly, mentally ill … individually and in groups .
The benefits of dog therapy
Dogs, therefore, are useful in this respect because they help to improve the health and well-being of patients and provide them with valuable companionship . For Boris Levinson, a psychologist who has carried out various investigations to learn more about the benefits of therapy with dogs, he states that “dogs are not only a pleasant therapy, but they also present benefits on a physical, psychological and social level.
Therefore, patients who benefit from this type of therapy show
- A better mood
- More attention
- Less depression and monotony
- Less feeling of loneliness
- Lower levels of anxiety and stress
- Increased social and physical contact
- They have an incentive and motivation
- They perceive the therapy as pleasant
- Develop leisure skills
- Increased mental stimulation
If you want to read more about this form of therapy, you can read our article: “The benefits of therapy with dogs”.