Do dogs truly feel love like we do?
You can ask any dog owner and the answer will be a firm YES!
There are “experts” that say .. NO. They say when a dog licks you (we dog lovers call them KISSES) the dog is simply reverting to puppyhood or being submissive. When a dog is over-excited to see us when we arrive home, they say it’s a sign of separation anxiety (we say.. they love us and missed us as much as we missed them).
Religions say they have no souls. Scientists say they are only acting out their basic survival instincts inherited from their ancestors. YET, I’ve seen them become best friends with some dogs and ignore others. I’ve seen them be particular with who they are affectionate with - dogs and human alike. I’ve seen them change and be gentle and nurturing with puppies.
Think about it…. When watching two HUMANS who love eachother, don’t they exhibit much of the same behaviours that dogs do when close to ones they have affection for? Kisses (and yes, even licking), lowering ourselves into the other, over excited to see eachother after a long time apart, and other “submissive” “anxious” behaviours?
And let’s face it… dogs are made like us humans. There is a nose inbetween 2 eyes on top and mouth on bottom, internal organs with identical purposes, 10 toes with nails, etc. etc. Why can’t their emotions be the same as ours as well ????? Not only do I think they can love like us but BETTER. Dogs are loyal to the end if they bond their love to you. They never fall-out-of-love with you. They forgive everything and always. I could go on and on but I think you know what I mean. ( I'm guessing you could add a few sentences of your own right now!) LOL
And what IS LOVE? Is love really about proof, or is it about trust? It’s something you can’t touch nor explain with tangilble evidence.
Like beauty … LOVE is in the eye of the beholder.
In surfing around I DID find a VERY INTERESTING article in Psychology Today. “Which Emotions Do Dogs Actually Experience?” by Stanley Coren, Ph.D, dated March 14, 2013 regarding this very subject.
( full article: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/canine-corner/201303/which-emotions-do-dogs-actually-experience )
Here are a few excerpts and I have to tell you up front… I LIKE THIS GUY !!!
“In recent times science has progressed a long way beyond Descartes and we now understand that dogs have all of the same brain structures that produce emotions in humans. .... Dogs even have the hormone oxytocin, which, in humans, is involved with feeling love and affection for others. ... However it is important to not go overboard and immediately assume that the emotional ranges of dogs and humans are the same.”
“Research shows that infants and very young children have a more limited range of emotions, but over time the child's emotions begin to differentiate and they come to be able to experience different and more complex emotional states.”
“….we know that the assortment of emotions available to the dog will not exceed that which is available to a human who is two to two-and-a-half years old. This means that a dog will have all of the basic emotions: joy, fear, anger, disgust and even love. However based on current research it seems likely that your dog will not have those more complex emotions like guilt, pride and shame.”
(Graph from article)
Regarding guilt: “….The dog has learned that when you appear and his droppings are visible on the floor, bad things happen to him. What you see is his fear of punishment—he will never feel guilt.”
“So what does this mean for those of us who live with, and interact with dogs? The good news is that you can feel free to dress your dog in that silly costume for a party. He will not feel shame, regardless how ridiculous he looks. He will also not feel pride at winning a prize at a dog show or an obedience competition. ...
However your dog can still feel love for you, and contentment when you are around, and aren't these the emotions we truly value?”
A BIG THANK YOU to Stanley Coren, Ph.D for making it OKAY to say ….
OUR BELOVED DOGS TRULY DO LOVE US!!!!