In today’s world, many believe that dogs are almost emotionless beings, who simply react to their environment and nothing more.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Dogs are much more than a mere pet; they are an emotional animal with a sense of loyalty and trust which extends beyond mere instinct.
They can indeed love us in return, but how much is debated and there is no definitive answer on this subject due to lack of scientific research in this area.
As with any other species, it is possible that some dogs may not experience love for humans at all, but this does not mean that they do not have some form of affection towards their owners.
The real question lies in whether or not the same holds true for all of them or not.
What Does Love Feel Like in a Dog’s Mind?
Dogs have humanlike desires for play, food, water, affection and attention from their owners. When we think of love in a human relationship, we often think of two individuals who are in love with each other.
But what do dogs love? Researchers have found that adult dogs display strong emotional bonds with their owners, and it doesn’t matter whether the owner is male or female.
Dogs are attracted to the smell of humans and they become highly excited when they smell their owners.
Dogs can also become highly anxious when they don’t see their owners and they want affection and reassurance that their owner is still alive.
Dogs can also experience depression, especially when their owners are away for a long period of time or when the owners are sick.
Can Dogs Be Taught to Love?
Dogs are naturally curious, so it’s possible to teach an old dog new tricks, but can you teach an old dog to fall in love?
If a dog has learned to expect food or affection at a certain time each day, it might be difficult to break him of the habit.
If a dog is missing a significant part of his canine “brain”, he may adopt new behaviours that mimic that missing part.
This is called “behavioral addling” and it happens to old dogs and even young dogs who have had a change in owners.
If you’re bringing a new dog into your home or to a new situation, it’s a good idea to do a trial run a few days before the big day.
Take your dog out to a familiar environment and feed him while he’s there. Reward him with praise or a treat and see if he learns to find his own food.
Is There a Link Between Emotional Bonding and Love?
Researchers suggest that the bond between dogs and their owners is a strong emotional connection that is similar to what people feel towards their partners.
It is a deep, long-lasting and unconditional love. Researchers from the University of British Columbia observed the emotional behaviour of dogs (both normal and aging dogs) towards their owners.
It was found that the dogs who were most strongly bonded to their owners were more likely to show signs of stress when separated from them.
The researchers believe that emotional bonding is most likely due to the release of oxytocin, a hormone associated with feelings of love and bonds between humans.
How Dogs Show Their Love for Us
While the question of can dogs love us makes for an interesting debate, the question of how does a dog show love for us deserves a bit more attention.
There are a number of ways that a dog can let their owner know that they love them. One way that dogs show love for their owners is through a behaviour known as “bonding”.
Dogs bond by showing physical affection, by resting their heads on their owners’ shoulders or by licking their owners’ faces. They can also show affection with vocal behaviours such as whining, whimpering or grunting.
Other ways that dogs show love for their owners are through playing games with them, offering comfort after a separation and by helping their owners out around the house.
Dogs also tend to form strong connections with certain people in their lives, so they may help their owners find their keys, bring in the newspaper when it isn’t on their own schedule or help their owners with physical tasks.
It is perhaps not surprising that dogs do not “love” us as much as we love them. Rather than love, dogs often experience a close emotional bond with humans, and it doesn’t matter whether the human is a person they have known for only a day or an owner they have known for years.
The main goal of science when it comes to studying emotions is to understand them better, so it is only natural that scientists look into whether dogs truly love us or not.
After all, if we want to truly understand a person or an animal, we must first look at their actions and not just at their feelings.
When it comes to love in dogs, the answer is clear – yes, dogs do love us as much as we love them. And just as we do, they also rely on love as a source of strength, security and comfort.