Research Indicates That Dogs Can Feel Love

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Researchers are working to prove what dog owners have said for years. Dogs really do love us! Scientists at Emory University in Atlanta, Ga., have discovered that dogs do in fact experience feelings of love and affection.



After training dogs to tolerate the noise of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners, a team of scientists was able to get clear images of dogs' brains without sedating them.

"I thought that if military dogs can be trained to jump out of helicopters then surely we could train them to sit still inside an MRI scanner," said neuroscientist Gregory Berns.

The team used hand signals to tell the dogs that they were going to receive treats while they were in the scanner. The resulting images showed that the caudate nucleus, a part of the brain related to positive emotions, was similar in both humans and dogs. This discovery lead the team to believe that dogs are capable of feeling emotions associated with love.

"We can really begin to understand what a dog is thinking rather than infer it from their behavior," Berns said.

Many scientists argue that the bond between an owner and their dog goes no further than a dog's need for safety and food. Bern's and his team's next step in their research is to prove this belief to be false by offering dogs food from strangers and machines.

"If, as many scientists have argued in the past, it is all simply about getting food for dogs, then the reaction in their brains would be the same no matter who or what is offering them the food," Bern said.

Bern and his team will continue their research, working to prove that dogs love their owners as more than just a source of food and security.

"We hope to show that they love us for things far beyond food, basically the same things that humans love us for, like social comfort and social bonds," Berns said.

MORE ON PAWNATION: 13 Ways Your Dog Shows You Love

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scooterzmomi

The mindless waste of money on superficial "research" continues. Consider that if dogs can love then they are capable of hate. One other point. Special Ops dogs jump out of airplanes, not helicopters.

February 01 2014 at 7:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
donnahughesband

Unfortunately it is not illegal in my State to chain a dog.
I am trying to create awareness, and tug on heart strings to change the laws. I hope to someday see it be illegal to chain a dog. It is so cruel! With colder than normal temperatures this year, there is a lot of suffering going on because of this!
Please share! Thank you!
"Dog On a 10 Foot Chain" on You Tube
http://youtu.be/SeQbZ3u_KPo

Nothing to look forward to
Watching cars go by all day
Nothing to play with, nothing to do
Shivering in the cold hard rain

They forget to bring me water
They forget that I am here
They don’t know how smart I am
They don’t even see my tears

What did I do wrong, what did I do?
I just want someone to love me, because I love you
Whatever it is I did wrong, maybe I can change
No one knows how hard it is, how hard it is to be………. a dog on a 10 foot chain

Sometimes it’s hard to stay cool
On a blazing hot summer day
I dream of crossing the stream
And catching a fish as the sunlight fades

It’s hard to stay warm in the winter
Some nights it’s hard to be strong
I dream of chasing butterflies
And rabbits all day long

Bridge:
The world is big and beautiful
But I’ll never see it all
Maybe when I go to Heaven
Someone will throw me a red ball

February 01 2014 at 8:18 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
john

Even as a scientist, I must acknowledge that science does have its limitations.

January 30 2014 at 11:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
john

I am a physician, and some would say that I am an animal whisperer which by the way, does not mean I talk to them and read their minds. It just indicates a special way of connecting with the animal and "understanding" their needs to a certain extent. I can appreciate the MRI stuff and all, yet aside from an MRI lighting up in certain areas of the brain with certain emotions, that is as far as it goes. An MRI nor anything else for that matter can truly define our experiences, let alone those of my dog or any other animal, including ourselves. This whole concept that an MRI, functional or not, can define these things, denigrates these emotions. It is like saying to someone when they have lost someone to death, divorce, or what-you, "I understand". Fact of the matter is you do not understand, and will never understand. My animal will kiss me out of affection and respect, my being the alpha male, but it is not affection as we experience it. It is also not the dog merely seeking regurgitated food from its mother as many experts will claim. Dogs in "kissing" and showing affection is part and parcel of and is always accompanied by respect, unlike humans much of the time. Animals do not experience things as we do, and we do them an injustice by anthropomorphizing them. Their beauty lies in the fact that they are not like us. Whether you see the Garden of Eden in a literal sense or a metaphorical sense, recall that we were the ones booted out and that the remainder of nature is still there.

January 30 2014 at 10:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Richard

"I LOVE ALL MY PET'S" always have, always will. Maybe, more so than a wife, or one of my expencive toy's.I really wish, I had any kind of relationship with another human that could equal that of my dog & I. Wonder why God, had made the animal world before mankind ? Were they suppose to be a guide for us, that we never learned ? Wonder why God saved the animals with Noah and spared not man ? HHHHMmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm !

January 30 2014 at 2:07 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
R Baby Kat

Absolutely, dogs have feelings and can love you unconditionally. Look at how some re-act when their owner returns from a tour of duty in the military. Well, I've had dogs all my life, trained them, showed them in Dog Shows, etc. Then, my son, who worked for a veterinarian from the time he entered Junior High clear through High School, turned me onto Siamese cats. We have had several..one for 20 yrs and 4 mos. (Longer than we had our two children!) and I can tell you, they are definitely people oriented and can show so much love and affection. They each one were different, but the same in their ability to discern your moods, your feelings and even when you didn't feel good or were sick. Never had to have one de-clawed, some were leash-trained, all could instinctively retrieve, and can easily be taught to sit up and do similar tricks you can teach a dog. The one I have now, is a gentleman and a lover. Even people who don't like cats, leave my home being buddies with my cat. I actually have neighbors who come to visit....my cat! He is so much fun and so entertaining and loving. I'm sure people have had great, loving experiences with other animals, too. Nature is amazing.

January 30 2014 at 12:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Susan

Yes dogs have feelings. When one of my dogs got hit by a car the one dog that was closest to him mourned his absence. He did not play or eat for days. Finally he ate but did not play. Other of my dogs were not so happy to play either but they did not have such a close bond with this dog that died. I went to visit my daughter for two days, my dogs have food and water and they had the same food and water when I came back. No one was there to replenish it ,I just left ample amount out to last two days. They went on a strike and when I returned they began to eat and of course jumped all over the place so happy to see me. When I take one of my five dogs to get a hair cut the others howl as they think he is going away. They cry for him and are so happy when he returns and has a new haircut too. Dogs have plenty of feelings, they are happy, they are sad, they feel pain and get sick too. They like snacks just like we do too, of course it is doggy snacks.All five of my dogs were rescued from puppy mills and I got them from the rescue shelter. Some had problems like running in circles because that was the size of their cage. All is going well now for all..Not shy and scared and back into a corner,afraid of people or me. Not skinny and almost starved to death but forced to breed anyhow.They are mine until death do we part. I know they love me, they show it every day.

January 29 2014 at 11:19 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Susan's comment
DOUG

Well Dusan you have got to be the worst "Pet parent" I have ever heard. You even have the nerve to put up this post. Let's start with the "one of my dogs got hit by a car". Why is a dog you claim to love running lose to get hit to begin with??? Ever heard of a fence or lease? My second point from your post is the most annoying. You left your pets alone for "days" ? You said " I went to visit my daughter for 2 days and my dogs had the same food and water when I came back. No one was ther to replenish it. I just left an ample supply of food and water 2 days.. Again, you are one lame ass pet parent. So who spent time with these dogs for 2 days. Who walked them, put them out, played with them , scratched their bellies???? Why did you even submit to this site? You may have dogs but you clearly dont care for them. Yes, they have feelings but it's clear you could care less about that. How about you give your pets to a caring and loving person and feel free to stop pretneding to be a loving pet person. Your own words say you are NOT!!!!!!!!

January 30 2014 at 1:06 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
recorby

That's complete bullshytt. If a cat doesn't like you, the cat is sensing your own lack of humanity.

January 29 2014 at 10:49 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
mesesmom

They needed a study to figure this out?

January 29 2014 at 10:47 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
bradbarb69

10 dogs,2 cats.I love them all.Each has their own personality like people.Most of them were rescued from various places.They are now happy and healthy despite having to work with a few over a long period of time due to various forms of abuse.They just want to be loved.I would not trade any of them for anything.They are like my kids and I know they have feelings and good/bad days like us all.You get what you give

January 29 2014 at 10:43 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
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