Everyone knows dogs are very intuitive and empathic. They are well-known for sensing negative energy, especially when they form bonds with us. Dogs are very sensitive to our emotional state. They just seem to know. In fact, dogs can even be trained to alert their owners when they sense something is wrong.
Dogs Definitely Sense Negative Energy
Yes, dogs can sense negative energy. They read emotions and respond to moods. This is one of the reasons why dogs are so good at helping people with post-traumatic stress disorder: they can sense it. Therapy dogs have been incredibly impactful for veterans. People who have been traumatized can accumulate negative energy around them that dogs are able to detect.
Dogs can also sense positive energy, but they tend to be more attuned to the negative side. Some people may find this hard to believe, but it's true. You may not feel like you carry around a lot of negative energy, but there are many people who do.
Dogs respond to all kinds of social cues from humans, from scent signals and vocal cues, to our facial expressions. If someone is giving off a negative vibe, research shows dogs can pick up on it.
Is It Empathy, Conditioning, Or Something More?
The question is, how do dogs sense negative energy? Are they responding to social cues? Are they displaying empathy toward humans, as a result of thousands of years of breeding? Or is something more going on? The short answer is, dogs are incredibly empathetic, so that's part of their power to read our emotions. But their ability to detect negative energy are so profound, they almost seem supernatural.
They can smell it: Dogs have an excellent sense of smell, which allows them to detect our emotions by picking up on subtle changes in our body chemistry that are undetectable by humans.
They can read us: Dogs can tell when we're stressed or anxious by noticing our increased heart rate, rapid breathing patterns, and perspiration levels; all signs that your body is preparing for action or a stress response.
They pick up social cues: Dogs are also very good at reading your body language. For example, if you're happy, your eyes will be wide open. If you're angry, your brow will furrow and your lips will tighten. Dogs also notice the direction of our gaze and whether or not we're looking at them. This information helps them figure out what's going on in our minds.
Some things we can't explain: Your dog's ability to pick up on emotions, and especially negative energy, can sometimes seem otherworldly. And it might be. We just don't know how they can pick up on certain things, or why they respond the way they do in every situation.
How Dogs Help
Dogs can help people with negative emotions by providing affection and comfort. They can also provide companionship, which has been shown to be beneficial for people with depression. People with depression often feel isolated and alone, especially when they're at home. Dogs can help change that by giving you something to focus on other than your own thoughts.
Dogs are also good for your health in general. They can encourage you to get outside and exercise more, which helps reverse many of the negative effects of being depressed. Dogs are known to reduce stress levels in their owners, promote relaxation, and lower blood pressure. In addition, dogs offer unconditional love and support.
How Dogs Behave When They Sense Negativity
Dogs can sense sadness, but they may not know what to do about it. If your dog senses that something is wrong with you, they might try to comfort you by giving you affection or trying to get your attention. A dog that senses sadness might lick or cuddle with you more than usual, or try to get closer by lying down next to you or under a blanket with you.
Not all dogs respond the same to negative energy, and some dogs are better suited to helping with negative energy than others. Signs your dog senses negative energy and isn't coping well with it include:
- Avoiding eye contact with people or other animals in the home
- Having trouble settling down
- Pacing or whining
- Displaying aggressive behavior toward people or other animals in the home
- Acting overly protective of you or another family member
- Pawing at you incessantly or nipping at your clothing
- Lack of appetite or increased appetite
- Shaking or shivering
- Urinating or defecating inappropriately in the house
The Importance of Staying Calm
Of course, it's not always possible to remain happy or calm, but doing your best with your dog is important. Your dog will do what they can to help get you through the low moments, but continuous stress could be harmful to your dog. The way you interact with your dog will affect the way they feel about themselves and the world around them.
If your dog is feeling neglected or ignored, they may become anxious or depressed and display negative behaviors such as separation anxiety or excessive barking. The best way to avoid this is to make sure your dog gets plenty of attention, while you remain as calm and content as possible.
Be Your Best Self
Your dog is your best friend and can sense all the emotions you're experiencing. Although your dog can help improve these emotions, it's important you do your part as well. Do your best to be your best self and put forth the effort as your dog helps you along.