Can Ethology Help a Depressed Dog?


Got a depressed dog? We all get down now and then, but can the same be said for dogs? In Argentina, this is such a widely held belief that ethology practices are at an all-time high. Have you heard of ethology? While veterinary medicine deals tends to deal with clinical reasons for depression, ethology deals with animal behavior.

According to ethology practices, dogs need more than medicine to help them feel better. Sometimes it only takes TLC: in other words, love.

In a recent article for Latino FoxNews, 78 percent of Argentines have a pet, with 63 percent sharing their lives with a dog. With the increase in pet-loving households comes an increase in reported behavioral problems, this according to 58-year-old Richard Burno, who is one of the country’s leaders in the ethology field.

Bruno reports that people who live alone tend to transfer their emotional issues to pets, some decide not to have kids and transfer their paternal or maternal instincts to pets, and Argentina has many lonely people.

Do fish feel pain? Do dogs really understand what we say when we talk to them? These are the questions ethologist ponder. Fidose wonders if ethologists are really animal psychologists. According to the University of Indiana Bloomington, “ethologists usually are trained in departments of biology, zoology, entomology, wildlife, or other animal sciences, whereas most comparative psychologists are trained in psychology departments.

fidose of realityDo you think we, as pet parents, transfer our emotions sometimes to our dogs and would you use the services of a veterinary ethologist?


  1. I’d never heard the word “ethology” before so thanks for teaching me a new thing…And yes i have no doubt that our animals pick up on our moods and emotions…I see that every day as gizmo seems to sense how i’m feeling and adjust his behavior accordingly

  2. I deal with depression and anxieties which I know Kirby picks up on. The strange thing is he doesn’t succumb to them but seems to know his job is to change my mood or calm my fear. He’s actually the silliest when I’m the saddest or very calm and attentive when I’m having an anxiety attack. No wonder he’s my heart dog!

    • I do believe our dogs channel our moods and behaviors, too, Kirby. I also believe they are very calming and as you know, studies show that people with dogs are calmer, happier, and have less health issues. Give Kirby a tummy rub from us.

  3. I think we put a large burden on our dogs, just with the lifestyle that is “forced’ onto them. I do think that our own stresses transfer onto them, whether directly or whether through our actions.

    I do not think we need ethologist, though. I think we need to get outside with our dogs more. Give them more of what they need. And it’ll be good for us too.

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