Anthropomorphism is the attribution of human traits, emotions, or intentions to non-human entities. It is considered to be an innate tendency of human psychology. ... People have also routinely attributed human emotions and behavioral traits to wild as well as domestic animals. (Taken from Wikipedia)
Yes, people do put human emotions onto dogs BUT...
There is a huge difference between putting a human emotion onto a dog and explaining canine emotions in human terminology. We have to use our human terms but we should not put human emotions on dogs. Why? Because herein lies the injustice to our dogs.
Dogs most definitely have emotions.
- an affective state of consciousness in which joy, sorrow, fear, hate, or the like, is experienced, as distinguished from cognitive and volitional states of consciousness.
Elsa is a very emotional dog, her emotions run deep although she is not overly sensitive. Each and every dog is vastly different from one another just like us. Some dogs are not emotional at all and just go through life sort of scratching the surface of everything; never letting anything bother them either good or bad. There are dogs that are so emotional that it becomes a real task in our learning how to deal with them correctly.
Knowing your dog is essential to connected at a higher level. Sure there are folks who will never connect with their dog, simply because they do not have the desire. There are also people who think they know their dog but they don't really understand "dog." Everything they understand about their dog is from a human point of view. This is a huge problem with many canine guardians.
Wouldn't it be great if everyone had to take a crash course in "dog" before adding a canine to their family? I think it is a wonderful idea and wish that it was mandatory. So many people I talk to have no idea how dogs work or think. Even people who have had dogs all their lives astound me with how they think about dogs.
Watching your dog is the key to understanding dogs. They are master communicators, often giving so many signals of communication in a minute that we can't keep up. If you are not watching for the signs you are never going to see them; meaning that you are never going to understand what your dog is saying. The slightest of body movement contains so much information.
When I temperament test a litter, I watch for the little signs. Sure there are lots of big signs but the small ones are often missed and can be more important. Ears are a huge indicator as are tails and the rest of the body. But the ears and tails are the easiest to see when you are first learning "dog." 1/4" movements of the body can communicate huge amounts of information and emotion. But we must understand dogs to know what our dogs are feeling. Otherwise we simply put our human emotions onto them.
Dogs are simple and extremely complicated. Their emotions should be understood in dog, not human.