Dealing with emotions
As humans we are an emotional bunch; sure there are those who are hard as stone, the tough guys. Do dogs have emotions? I think yes; but they are not like ours. A dogs emotion is true, clear and uncluttered. The dog emotion relies more on core temperament more than our "feelings" type emotion.
Today we were out for several hours; when I came into the house Tilley was on the new leather couch. I naturally told her to "GET OFF." She knows it is off limits and also knows that she can get on it when we are not home. And she does tend to like the comforts of it when she is unusually tired which would be today. She went for a long walk so at nearly 12 she was tired. But; because I have three dogs, one of which likes to fluff anything he lays on I must enforce this "no furniture" rule.
What is Tilley's response? She immediately albeit slowly gets off of the couch. She comes to me squinting and sits before me in respect, she will be blinky for a while now. This is not an emotional response but a hierarchy response and a smart one at that. Tilley is more a sensitive dog but not so emotional; Luke is my emotional dog. He wakes up with an array of emotions each day and until you speak to him you really don't know what type of mood he is in.
The females in my house seem to be much more level with their emotions, not as demonstrative as Luke. Luke definitely has more fluctuations with his emotions. He is easily upset and worries about nearly everything. He can wake in a good mood, a smile and wagging tail or he can wake-up not wanting to talk to anyone.
Where I see emotions in dogs generally is when they are ignored or feeling as they are being ignored. Or when they are scolded unexpectedly. For instance; if Luke or Tilley is getting alot of attention, I will see Jessie's face change. She doesn't do anything about it but her posture changes. And she may even drag her little body to a pillow and plunk down depression style. Funny.
If Luke get's in trouble, and it is only ever vocal he sulks. He is obviously upset and not just reacting to my action. The action/reaction is immediate and over quickly. Even once I have forgiven him with a change of posture he will keep eye contact me for hours, he does not like to get into trouble. Whereas the girls react to my negative action in a typical submissive body posture. Once forgiven by my change of mood and posture they usually go about their business and all is over.
It is very difficult to describe a dog emotion; we are constantly accused of anthropomophism. But to infuse human emotions on canine behavior enables us to better understand a dogs behavior. Yes their emotions are vastly different from ours but there are definte emotions behind those eyes.
They are all different, but I do believe they have emotions. It is not all action/reaction.