How Emotionally Intelligent Are Dogs
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Recent studies have shown that there are five major factors that make someone emotionally intelligent. These include understanding and processing of emotions, use of emotion in relationships, ability to recognize and control your own emotions, use of emotional regulation in relationships, and perception of others’ emotions.
All people with higher levels of emotional intelligence tend to be happier, more productive workers and parents. They may also experience less stress due to better coping skills.
While most people think about emotion as something only humans can access, research suggests that non-human animals such as dogs show signs of emotional intelligence.
In this article, we will discuss how well dogs exhibit emotional intelligence and the traits they possess that contribute to their success.
I wanted to share my experiences raising two very different breeds of dog – a Labrador Retriever and a Golden Retriever. Both of these dogs were exposed to the same amount of training and supervision, but one puppy became extremely popular while the other was much less so. By looking at the behaviors of each breed, you will learn some things about whether or not dogs are emotional beings like us!
Disclaimer: The content in this article is designed for educational purposes only and should never be used for individual psychological counseling or diagnosis of any mental health condition. For personal growth, solutions seeking, or aid for yourself or someone else, see a licensed professional.
Factors that affect emotional intelligence
There are several factors that influence how emotionally intelligent an animal is, including: genetics, early experiences, environment, socialization, and leadership.
Genetics play a major role in determining your dog’s emotional intelligence. Some dogs are born with more stable emotions than others. These animals may be less likely to show signs of stress or worry when they encounter something new.
For example, if you find yourself in a situation where your dog has never been before, he might seem a little bit nervous at first, but as time passes, he gets happier and interacts more with the new thing. This could be because his parents passed down these behaviors from birth.
However, this doesn’t mean that genetically-enriched dogs are any “smiler” or “laughing” through their lives. They may remain serious and focused even after things go well, which can make them seem quite cold sometimes.
A related concept is dominance theory. This says that some individuals are naturally leader types who get most of the attention and praise from other people and pets around them. Because of this, they develop strong self-confidence and feel entitled to keep taking charge.
This isn’t always bad, but it does contribute to mental health issues like narcissism. If someone else puts themselves into difficult situations for your friend, it can reinforce their sense of superiority.
Ways to improve your dog’s emotional intelligence
Recent studies show that it is possible to teach dogs to be emotionally intelligent. By teaching your dog certain skills, you can enhance their cognitive ability and influence them to learn some basic emotions.
Research has shown that puppies as young as eight weeks old are able to recognize other dogs as being friendly or hostile. They will try to approach or avoid these animals depending on whether they feel safe. This means that even very young dogs have some understanding of social cues.
Interacting with different types of dogs also teaches your puppy about how different breeds behave around each other. If you always play in a park where there are many different breed types, this would give your puppy a more generalized idea of what behaviors are appropriate when meeting new dogs.
Behavioral experts say that interacting with other species helps develop empathy, which is the understanding of others due to an awareness of their feelings. Given that dogs are one of our most popular companions, improving their empathy for other creatures could help create happy relationships.
Teach your dog to be calm and relaxed
Many people consider dogs to be the most intelligent species, but there is no definitive proof that this is actually the case. Some experts believe that dolphins are more clever than many give them credit for!
Dogs certainly seem smart at times, but they can also show very different levels of emotional intelligence. This article will discuss what emotion-related skills you should look for in any puppy or adult dog.
You want to make sure that their emotions do not change quickly, and that they are able to recognize and understand other animals’s emotions. Puppies develop these skills as they learn about and around other puppies.
As they grow up, they may need help understanding social cues from bigger dogs or cats. Adult dogs who lack emotional intelligence may find themselves isolated and unhappy.
If you think your dog has low emotional intelligence, try to determine why this is. You don’t necessarily have to address every possible cause, but it is helpful to know how much control he or she has over their own mental state.
Teach your dog to be assertive
Being able to recognize, understand and control your own emotions is a pretty important thing. It helps you regulate your behavior and keeps you from acting impulsively.
Dogs are very aware of how we feel so they can learn some helpful lessons about emotional intelligence.
They may even try to imitate our behaviors or actions. For example, if you’re angry with someone, then sometimes people will get jealous and want to prove that they could handle being in a situation like that too.
However, dogs who watch us behave irrationally often give up and avoid engaging with us because they’ve seen it before and it didn’t work.
That’s why it's important to teach your dog to be more emotionally intelligent.
Teach your dog to be consistent
Consistency is one of the most important things you can teach your dog. If you are constantly changing your behavior, your dog will learn that by doing what you do not every time, it works.
Dogs use consistency as a cue for how to behave towards other dogs or people. For example, if you always get along with people, then your dog may assume that they will like them when he/she meets them.
If you never respond positively to another person, then your dog may develop poor socialization skills. This could possibly lead to behavioral issues such as aggression in new situations.
Furthermore, if you are consistently good with animals, your dog may copy your behaviors with pets or even horses. However, if you are ever confronted with an animal that does not love you, this could put more pressure on your dog.
He may try to defend you by acting aggressive himself which would only make everything worse. People often say that dogs have too many emotions, but I disagree.
Help your dog learn to be dog-friendly
Sometimes dogs need help understanding what is and isn’t acceptable behavior. This can be due to poor socialization, living in close quarters with other animals, or possibly health issues.
If you notice signs of aggression towards other dogs, don’t let him meet them! A gentle walk together is often the best way to bring about this change.
For example, if your dog growls at another dog when they are walking side by side, have the owners hold hands so that their attention doesn’t drift between the two. Once one of them pulls away, you may see fireworks!
Another tip would be to take your dog for a different kind of activity than he is used to doing with the other animal. For instance, instead of going for a stroll, maybe play some fetch?
Last but not least, try introducing your dog to the other animal slowly.
Do not become too attached to your dog
Many people develop strong emotional attachments to their dogs. Sometimes this is due to the fact that they spend a lot of time with each other, but it can also be because there are significant responsibilities linked to having a dog.
Dogs are highly intelligent creatures who want to connect with you and show off how smart they are. If you need to walk a short distance somewhere or if you do not have time for a longer stroll, you should consider walking with only one member of the family.
A helpful way to reduce attachment to a dog is to give them some separation. This means leaving them at home alone while you go out for an hour or two. Or perhaps letting them outside for a few minutes while you run some errands.
By doing these things, you will see a difference in the amount of stress the animal feels. They sense that you don’t trust them anymore and this creates more anxiety than before.
Speak to your dog using your own voice
If you are ever confronted with an emotional or hostile canine, do not use physical cues to threaten them. This could be trying to grab the dog’s collar or snatching at it aggressively.
Dogs can sense when someone is being physically aggressive towards them and will respond in kind. Using threatening body language sets off red flags for dogs and makes them more likely to attack.
Instead, try speaking in a calm tone of voice, look your dog in the eye, and speak softly. Use gentle touches like petting or rubbing the dog’s back to help soothe any nervousness.
Avoid yelling as this only raises anxiety levels even further. When possible, walk your dog, or take him out for a few minutes!
If necessary, stay within arm’s length of your dog and keep quiet until he has calmed down. Only then should you approach his owner, if anyone is available.