Mark Tulin is an international author, humorist, poet, and short-story writer who lives by California's central coast.
Do Dogs Suffer From Depression?
Yes, some dogs can get the blues. Dogs can show similar signs of human depression or sadness like loss of appetite, lethargy, drinking less water, disinterest, and significant weight loss. Here are some reasons for this:
- If the owner is sad
- If the dog has a physical ailment
- Loss of a loved one like death or going away to college
- Changing environment or moving to a new house
- Chemical imbalance which might necessitate a trip to the vet
- Lack of interaction from owners and lack of exercise
Emotional Range of Dogs and Humans
Springer Spaniels: Experts at Looking Sad
You are a sad dog, Springer Spaniel . . . a depressed dog. I can tell. Your ears are falling, and they’re droopy. You are a sad dog because you can’t eat when you want to or go for a ride in a car when you want to. I can tell that you are upset when your owners go to Target or Costco and then get some tacos at the Mexican restaurant and they don’t take you. I can tell that you miss them by the way you bark. It sounds agonizing.
You want your owners to suffer as you suffer, but they don’t. They eat their tacos in utter bliss. Sometimes they eat cheesy bean burritos. Poor Springer Spaniel. You are in total agony, all alone.
Is This Springer Spaniel Trying to Guilt Her Owner?
The answer is no. This Springer Spaniel comes from a good home. She gets what she wants most of the time, and she has a fantastic backyard with a gorgeous mountain view. All her needs are taken care of, including the medical ones. She also is not trying to make her owners feel guilty or planning to get revenge on them for not giving her meat.
According to Dr. Stanley Coren, dogs don't feel guilty—they don't even know guilt exists, so how could they make humans feel guilty?
So, Why Is Bath Time so Torturous?
Oh, no—it’s bath time again. You can tell when your owner walks into a particular room in the house and you can hear the water running. It makes you uncomfortable when you have to get wet in the sink. Your owner sprays you with a hose and soaps you up because you stink so much. You know you are dirty, but that's the way dogs are, you rationalize—it's normal for a canine to smell. You argue that you don't complain about how humans stink. You don't run after them and scare them half to death and make them sit in an uncomfortable sink and mess up their day? Besides, the gland on your rear end is the real culprit—it makes you stink like the dickens!
You also hate it when humans leave the room or push you away in disgust when you break wind. It's all those frozen beans that your owners gave you, and you can't help it if the humans grow a good hearty garden that is extra yummy!
Dog Breeds That Have Mastered the Sad Look
- Basset Hounds
- Saint Bernards
Fun Facts About Springer Spaniels
- I am dog-friendly
- I am not hypoallergenic
- I am very adaptable
- I am very popular
- I am affectionate and intelligent
- I'm from England and raised as a sporting dog there. I will bark and chase squirrels.
- I live anywhere from 12 to 14 years so enjoy me while you can.
- I'm a sturdy, medium-sized dog, so you don't have to treat me like I'm fragile.
- I need a lot of activity, so walk me two or three times a day.
- Which Emotions Do Dogs Actually Experience? | Psychology Today
Dogs have the same emotions as a human 2 year-old child
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Questions & Answers
Question: My Springer spaniel seems sad and anxious since we had to put our other dog down six months ago. What can I do?
Answer: I would first make sure that your Springer is physically okay. If the Springer is cleared physically by the Vet, then a pet psychologist might be in order if the problem persists. Either way, pose this question to the Vet first.
Do dogs try to guilt us? Are they capable of revenge? Please give me your feedback on this.
Irene on September 05, 2014:
Ali is great, she knows when l,m sad or when I cry she looks at me like saying it,s ok and will lay by me to say it,s ok
Mark Tulin on August 23, 2014:
Sounds like an interesting book. Will look for it.
Jaye Denman from Deep South, USA on August 22, 2014:
Thanks, Mark. I'm a retiree, and my dog is my constant companion and beloved friend.
I love reading about animal intelligence research studies. If you haven't read the book THE GENIUS OF DOGS, by Brian Hare and Vanessa Woods, I highly recommend it.
Mark Tulin (author) from Ventura, California on August 22, 2014:
Great comment, Jaye. Your love for dogs shines through!
Jaye Denman from Deep South, USA on August 22, 2014:
Scientific research has proven that dogs are intelligent and experience some of the same emotions that humans do. However, because the mind of a mature dog is equivalent to that of a human toddler (about 2 1/2 years old), the dog will not experience the more complex emotions that humans develop at ages beyond 2 1/2 years. Those complex emotions include guilt, pride, shame and vengeance.
Often, what humans consider guilt or anger is really fear. If the dog does something that has in the past produced punishment or any unwanted consequence, what looks like guilt on the dog's part is fear of punishment. The dog has learned that the act (unwanted by the human) produces consequences (unwanted by the dog).
If a dog has been abused and physically mistreated, the dog may snarl and bare its teeth when the abuser approaches. This isn't hatred or a desire for vengeance. It's fear of abuse and a natural instinct for self-protection.
Dogs live in the moment, which is why we can snap at them for barking maniacally when we're tired and irritable, yet ten minutes later they will cuddle with us on the sofa. Oh, yes, the most important emotion dogs feel is love, and here they out-do humans. The inability to feel those complex emotions means dogs don't place conditions on love. That's marvelous, isn't it?
Voted Up and Interesting
Susan Zutautas from Ontario, Canada on August 22, 2014:
I think my dogs show pride when they've just been groomed and told how nice they look. Guilt when they've done something wrong and they know it.
Interesting hub. I think all dogs have a sad way of looking at you in order to perhaps get something they want. Such as that delicious looking steak you have above.