Do Golden Retrievers Know When You’re Sad?

Have you ever noticed how your dog starts reacting in another way when you are feeling down or sad (even when you are not showing it) and just wondered if they can somehow feel what you’re feeling?

If so, you are not alone. I have always wondered the same thing, and I know plenty of people who would swear that their dogs can absolutely tell when they are not feeling okay.

So, do golden retrievers know when you’re sad? Yes, golden retrievers know when you are sad and they will try to provide you with comfort even though they don’t understand our emotions completely. For example, you will respond automatically to how you are feeling, and all they know is that you are experiencing some poor feelings.

So, yes, golden retrievers can tell when you are sad. To learn more about how exactly do they know that you are feeling down and what they do in response, keep reading….

How do golden retrievers know when you’re sad? 

Golden retriever puppy looking at the camera to answer how do golden retrievers know when you're sad?

Golden retrievers know when you are sad by recognizing facial cues. They can even detect your emotions by just looking at your pictures.

Researchers in Vienna believe that dogs are the first evidence of an animal able to discriminate emotional expressions in any other species.

Adult golden retrievers have a mind similar to the mind of a toddler when it comes to their emotional intelligence, vocabulary, mental abilities. 

To understand the emotional intelligence of dogs further, the University of London did a study of 18 dogs in which the researchers looked at dogs’ reactions towards someone crying and humming.

The researchers thought the dogs would be curious about the humming sound but instead fifteen of the eighteen dogs went to the person who is crying. This shows a level of emotional intelligence that’s quite advanced. They could tell by the tone of the humming that it was sad and instinctively went to comfort the person crying.

What will your golden retriever do when they know you’re sad? 

It really depends on your golden retriever’s character, they can show their empathy in different ways, so here are the most common ones.

  • The distraction method.

So basically your golden retriever will treat you like a toddler, they will try to distract you by encouraging you to go outside with them or they will drop a ball at your feet to distract you from playing with them.

  • Comforting you 

Your pooch might be the emotional kind so they will try to comfort you by touching your hand, licking you, putting their head on your lap, or hugging you.

  • Backing off

They may be smarter than emotional types and they think that the right thing in that time is to give all the space you need and just back off and let you feel what you want to feel.

They will keep their distance till they finally feel that you are ready for them to shower you with love and care because it’s been a while for you both.         

Does your golden retriever know when you’re happy? 

Yes, a golden retriever can know when you are happy, they can tell by two things, one; they can read your facial expressions, and two; they can smell the hormones humans secrete when they are happy such as dopamine, oxytocin, and serotonin.

These hormones become so elevated when we are happy and our dogs can sense them and hype up with you.

Dogs can also tell this much more quickly than previously thought, and it’s believed that how fast they can detect our emotions and how strongly do they react to it depends on how strong the bond between the dog and the person it.

You can learn more about how to become your dog’s favorite person here and how to strengthen your bond.

Does your dog know when you’re sick? 

Yes, your dog knows when you are sick as they can notice your physical condition and detect your mood.

If you are infected with a virus or bacteria, they will smell the changes in your body odor.

They can even sense that you are sick before you feel any symptoms because dogs have as many as 300 million olfactory receptors in their nose and the average person only has 6 million.

If you have a bigger illness than bacteria or virus, they will know as well because human emotions manifest physically in chemosignals that are emitted by our bodies and your dog can sense these changes.

They can even pull the information from your voice to sense the changes because they have an area of their brain that is similar to the one found in our brains, it allows them to decipher our emotional cues in the tone of our voice.

That’s the same reason they could pick up familiar words by themselves.

Does your golden retriever know when you’re stressed or anxious? 

Yes, your golden retriever knows when you are stressed, they can feel it, and as soon as they sense it, they may show signs of being stressed as well.

Actually, if you noticed signs of stress on your dog and you wonder why, well, I hate to break it to you but there is a good chance that you are the reason why.

In a newly conducted study done by researchers in Sweden’s linköping university, they found that dogs’ stress levels were pretty much influenced by their owners, dogs can basically mirror the stress levels of their owners.

The researchers looked at the hair concentrations of the stress hormone cortisol in both the owners and their dogs as the indicator of their stress level.

They were taken twice and in both times the samples showed that the cortisol levels from the dogs were “synchronized” with their owners.

Why do golden retrievers make for good therapy dogs? 

  • Golden retrievers make great therapy dogs because they bring joy, comfort, and aid in the healing process for the patients.
  • They are the perfect people-pleasers and they enjoy being part of any activity and they are also very aware of their duties.
  • They have a friendly nature that makes them perfect therapy dogs
  • They are so smart and they are easy to train 
  • Golden retrievers have dependable basic obedience
  • They also have good leash manners 
  • They have superb command recall even after years past of their basic training.

How to train a golden retriever to be a therapy dog?

Training a therapy dog can take a long time, a lot of effort, and thousands of dollars. However, if your dog is still young, you can start training them to be as close to being a therapy dog as they could. Training your dog to be a therapy dog can be incredibly useful later in life.

First of all, before you train your golden retriever to be a therapy dog there are a couple of things first.

For example, your golden retriever should know concepts such as “calm” and cues like “stop”.

They should also be self-controlled and have dependable basic obedience and have good leash manners.

If your golden retriever doesn’t know one of these things then you should master them first before their therapy dog training.

Here are the basics of how to train your golden retriever to be a therapy dog:

  • Make sure that your golden retriever is relaxed and ready to be trained 
  • Choose a toy that easy and comfortable for your pup to carry around for extended periods (something firm but soft)
  • Make sure that the toy you chose is only used in their training which means they shouldn’t have it any other time
  • Whenever they are well-behaving at work toss them the toy as a reward 
  • Teach them to carry the toy while they are in the training 
  • Make sure that your golden retriever carry their toy through any public environment 
  • You can reward them for carrying the toy and for their good behavior with a treat.

If you liked this article and found it helpful, you can share it with your family members and friends, it might be helpful to them as well and I will definitely appreciate it.

Related Questions 

Can golden retrievers sense sadness? 

Yes, golden retriever can sense your sadness and when you are happy or angry, dogs can recognize human emotions but they cannot understand it clearly, your golden retriever can even guess that you are disappointed when you see your show that they just ate.

Can Golden Retrievers Tell When you’re depressed? 

Yes, golden retrievers can tell when you’re depressed and sad, they can detect most human emotions and they will feel distressed as well then they will try to comfort their owner or they will use the distraction method to cheer them up by encouraging them to go outside with them.

Can golden retrievers help with depression?

Yes, golden retrievers can help with depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and anxiety because golden retrievers are great service and therapy dogs, you can even get a golden retriever and train them to be a therapy dog because they are easy to train and in that way, they will be more helpful to you.

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Helpful Resources 

5 Ways Your Dog Senses your Mood

Your Dog Knows When You’re Stressed — and They Feel It Too

How Your Dog Knows When You’re Sick

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