"Self-sufficiency does not mean 'going back' to the acceptance of a lower standard of living. On the contrary, it is the striving for a higher standard of living, for food that is organically grown and good, for the good life in pleasant surroundings... and for the satisfaction that comes from doing difficult and intricate jobs well and successfully." John Seymour ~ Self Sufficiency 2003

Friday, 8 July 2011

Do animals have (human) feelings...?

I am a big fan of Cesar Millan - the dog whisperer.

And I understand when he says don't try and make a human out of a dog.  Rather give it structure, balance and guidance - the same treatment it would receive in a pack.

But I wonder - do dogs (and other animals) have feelings - human feelings?  Do they love, hate, cry, mourn, delight, sulk and possibly hold a grudge?

And can they understand (human) language?
Perhaps we should be careful what we say around animals... just in case they can understand us :-)

Dogs are, after all, man's best friend - I know I've had at least 3 canine best friends in my life.  And I am richer for having known them.  I hope they felt the same.


  1. Absolutely! And I have seen every emotion you listed in my dogs. I have see them in other animals. Anyone who has raised an animal that lost a baby knows how an animal can mourn (cow, sheep, goat, horse). Dont even get me started on pigs or donkeys who display so many emotions that they practically talk. I can even tell the difference in personalities in my chickens and they just are not that smart. The problem is most people dont pay attention to what the animals are telling us. They just dont care. It is only an animal after all.

  2. Hi Dani, we have 9 dogs and if it was not for cesar millan we would never have been able to cope, as they are 80% from the same litter and all male. Although we do tend to slip and treat them as if they are human, we definitely have less problems if we maintain the pack mentally. But they all have their own personality and I would not give any of them away. I must just say, it is because we have so many that we have to maintain the pack in the way that cesar suggests, because after all, that is how dogs maintain themselves when in a group. Even humans when they are in a large group need a leader to function as a functional group and we have feelings.

  3. Jane - I agree - I, too, have seen different personalities in the various animals we have been fortunate to spend time with.

    African Bliss - Yikes - 9 dogs - how do you manage to feed them?

    Only difference I can think of between a canine pack and a human one, is that the canine pack members are generlaly loyal to their leader, whereas humans are fickle!

  4. Very true Dani, give me animals any day..

  5. I'd say yes to that to and think they are capable of understanding some things humans say even if its because of the emotions behind the words.

  6. I saw at first sight of my current dog .. from the litter that she has a little attitude .. she's an alpha b**** and wasn't properly socialized in her youth. Now she's old and somewhat toothless .. defender of her territory against chipmunks, moose, deer .. doesn't matter the size. Paranoid of thunder storms and fireworks .. she is reduced to a pacing madwoman during such events.

  7. My horse sulks if I chastise him for doing something I don't want him to do, like pawing the gate because he wants to come in the house yard. He's not very compassionate either and storms off if I'm sad so I sit with the dog to be comforted. Maybe it's a gender thing too as the dog is female.

  8. tffn - Think perhaps they understand more chastisement than TLC. Reckon I'm probably guilty of speaking to them / using their names more when I cross with them than when I'm happy...

    Mrs Mac - LOL we've also had a dog that couldn't take loud noises of any sort - drove us nuts with it's fear.

    Stitchin' time - LOL so glad you've got the dog - sounds like your horse is a tad selfish.

  9. personally i'm the exact opposite....i thing cm is an idiot and in structure, balance and guidance its dogs that give that to us, not the other way around

  10. wickets - I dunno - I reckon Cesar does amazing things with dogs - a heck of a lot more than I ever reckoned humans could do. And the dogs all seem the better for it...

  11. Hey Dani, we have got 7 cats and 4, are you sure you still want us as neighbours...lol

  12. African Bliss - As long as you're all friendly, you're all welcome :-)


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