Resting their head in your lap, curling up next to you with a little huff, or putting their nose under your arm.

These are all subtle ways our dogs try to comfort us. And, speaking for myself at least, it usually works.

After losing a pet I grew up with, my golden retriever was as comforting as he always is when I am upset. I joke that he is better at reading my emotions than my fiancé is, but it just might be true. Kobe knows when I am upset, and he will let me cry it out while curled up with him.

dogs and emotions

How does he do it?

Part of his brain helps him understand human and dog voices to decode them. Part of a dog’s brain can understand the tone of our voices to give them insights into our emotions. He can also pick up on facial cues.

The part of the brain that dogs use to understand our voices is located near their ears and it doesn’t decode the words, but rather everything else about that sound. Who is speaking? How are they feeling? Excited, mad? Are we being serious or silly?

It gets pretty involved, but what it comes down to is the science behind our best friends – they are hardwired to understand us.

The ability to decode our meaning and connect that to our emotions really set dogs apart as the most perfect companions.

How amazing is that?

I am thankful every day for my pups and knowing they are so evolved that they can decode human voices is comforting in some way.

The next time your upset and you look to Fido for comfort, know that he understands you’re feeling down and he is going to try to comfort you however he can.