Home » Behavior » How Dogs Love Us

How Dogs Love Us


how dogs love usAs a pet owner, you may often times wonder if your dog really loves you. You know he’s loyal and loving, but does he share the same emotions for you that you share for him? Or does he love you like a child loves a parent? Perhaps his love is more one of respect and devotion as a canine feels for the leader of the pack. For many years, scientists struggled with the study of emotions in pets, and especially the bond that is undoubtedly felt between a dog owner and their canine companion. It was once understood that pet love only went as far as their need for food and shelter, and we as owners were seen as nothing more than a resource. Now, new science is finding that the dog brain shares similarities in emotions, including love as humans do!

Neuroscience and Your Dog

Emory University in Atlanta, GA put the claims of pet owners to the test through the use of neuroscience. They wanted to see if dogs really do love their owners, or if they are only in the relationship for the food and security. Using training, they were able to help a handful of dogs to become content within a noisy MRI machine so clear images of the dog’s brain could be seen. The training used was all based on positive reinforcement. The dogs were able to associate lying in an MRI machine, and hand signals, with the positive consequence of receiving a food reward. This brought on positive emotions in the dog, which lead to a discovery linking emotions between canines and their humans.

The part of the brain in which positive emotions are expressed are similar in both humans and dogs, according to the MRI image analysis. To really get a clear idea of how the dogs felt about their owners or handlers, strangers were also brought in to provide positive reinforcement for the dogs during their MRI scans. If the dog was truly only interested in food, the scans would be identical no matter who was offering the reward. The results showed differently.

Truly Best Friends

The results of the study concluded that dogs feel differently between their owner, or in this case their trainer in comparison to a stranger who was offering the exact same positive reward. If the dog felt nothing towards any human, his scans would be the same no matter what human was giving him the reward, but they were in fact different. The dog felt a stronger positive emotion when his own human was providing the reward, bringing into question the animals’ abilities to feel empathy and emotions towards humans the same way we feel about them.

Your dog is able to form friendships, bonds and relationships with people the same way we do. This means he could easily love one person while only like or tolerate another, and it most definitely asserts their emotional bond and link between a dog and his owner. How you feel about your dog is probably recuperated right back, as his loyalty goes beyond just a need for food and security but for your love and respect as well.

The next time your dog looks lovingly at you, lays his head on your lap or attempts to instigate play you now know that he is interested in simply being with you just as much if not more so than the fun or pleasure involved in the activity itself, such as a scratch behind the ears or a toss of the tennis ball. In fact, when these activities take place an endorphin is released that actually causes the feeling of love, companionship, bonding, trusting and closeness. These are the same endorphins that are released during exercise, play and fun and even hugging in humans. That bond and love you feel with your dog is indeed recuperated.

Related Posts

Follow us

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.