Embarrassed dog.

We know that dogs sense and react to human emotions, as evidenced by their behavior when we’re either up or down. Ongoing research into canine behavior will continue to emphasize just how in-tune dogs are to their people. In fact, scientists have proven that dogs employ certain parts of their brains just for processing the emotions belonging to their special people. Along the journey of dog ownership, some owners notice an inexplicable, awkward discomfort to various human emotions, including intense physical or emotional pain. In a species known for emotional depth, why does crying creep them out?

What You See, What You Get

Since ancient dogs learned that their survival was less precarious near or among human settlements, generations of closeness have ensured that modern canine behavior fits well with human behavior. Like pieces of the same puzzle, dogs and people feel similar emotions, and to some extent, we can perceive and understand them in each other.

Caring Is Sharing

Dogs are deeply connected to people, and have the capacity to know what they’re feeling. However, some dogs seem to get really freaked out when their owners express themselves in ways that are completely foreign to them. Crying, for example, has a way of making many dogs feel like they have to escape the present moment with all of its emotional stickiness.

Between the LInes

This could be explained by the fact that dogs rely on their owner’s facial expressions to gauge what’s happening to them. As we all know well, the “ugly cry” can definitely have its drawbacks, the least of which could be your dog shunning your company

It could also be related to what the ambiance is around the emotional outburst. Consider the lighting qualities, how loud things are getting for your dog, and who else is around. Dogs may feel like they don’t have to comfort you during a crying spell if you aren’t alone. 

It could also be that they just cannot understand the intensity of the emotion that their only coping mechanism is to run away, hide, or react in uncharacteristic ways. Also, some dogs may have previously attempted to react to crying in ways they thought appropriate, only to be rebuffed or snubbed. Who said canine behavior always makes sense?

Feeling Left Out?

All of this sort of contradicts the conventional wisdom that animals see and feel our pain, and rush to our sides for comfort. Indeed, crying can be so overwhelming to them that they cannot tap into their soothing or nurturing skills. Instead of wondering what’s wrong with them, or what’s wrong with you when you cry, allow the moment to pass. Invite your dog back into your space after the tears are gone and reassure them that you’re okay. Their instinctive canine behavior will eventually syncopate, and life can go on as usual.

Curious Canine Behavior

If your dog’s behavior is normal in every other way, their reaction to crying could simply be attributed to a peculiarity. Professional support can help reduce stress and anxiety, and we are happy to help address any challenges with canine behavior with a non-judgemental behavioral consultation. 

Our skilled team is always here to address concerns about canine behavior and wellness. Call us anytime at (732) 531-1212.