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Can a Dog Love a Person?

 
By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. Updated: September 18, 2016
Can a Dog Love a Person?

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Dogs are very social animals who enjoy the company of those willing to love and care for them. Dogs' emotional capacities are well known and backed up by scientific studies comparing the brain of a dog to that of a human. These emotions include sadness, joy and love; but is the love they feel the same as ours?

If you are wondering whether or not your dog is capable of loving you, or any other person, the answer is yes. Your dog can certainly love and love intensely!

Keep reading this article on Can a Dog Love a Person? and discover what feelings your dog has for you.

You may also be interested in: 10 Things that Dogs Love

Expert Opinion

Canine psychology professionals include veterinarians who have specialised in dog behaviour and ethologists. Ethology is the scientific study of animal behaviour with a particular emphasis on how it interacts with its environment.

Ethologists claim that dogs are able to feel emotions (as we mentioned above) such as sadness, anxiety, stress, joy and love. However, their studies sometimes express their findings in a different way as to how many people think about our relationship with emotions, so we need to clarify what they mean when they answer whether or not a dog can love a person.

Can a Dog Love a Person? - Expert Opinion

What do we Mean by Love?

The dog is a noble and faithful animal that admires, loves and protects those that reciprocate those same feelings (even some mistreated dogs love their owners). Dogs really do have a big heart.

However, it is hard to qualify to what extent can a dog love a person or how intense are their feelings. Dog owners will find this out by themselves as they spend time with their dog and see how they interact with people. There is a reason canines are deemed 'man's best friend' as the amount of affection they exhibit toward their owners is often great.

Can a Dog Love a Person? - What do we Mean by Love?

Comparison with Human Emotions

Studies attempting to qualify the range of emotions of which dogs are capable have focused on their brains. It is claimed that a dog's brain is roughly the equivalent to that of a 2 or 2 1/2 year old child. The structures which produce emotions in a human brain are also present in a dog's and we share certain chemical components which are produced when we feel emotions. The capability of a dog's love has been proven by the presence of the hormone oxytocin in its brain. This hormone is secreted by humans when they experience feelings of affection and the same hormone is released in the brain of a dog when it displays similar feelings.

Are Dogs Embarrassed When They Poop?

If a dog can love a person similar to how a toddler can, then it is also incapable of feeling some of the emotions humans only develop when they get older. These emotions include pride, contempt, guilt and shame. This means, although a dog can become shy or intimidated by threatening elements, it ill not be embarrassed or awkward in a social situation. An example of this is when a dog defecates it can often seem to give a face which looks like it might be embarrassed or guilty, but this is not the case. Dogs have a survival instinct which is needed to stay alive in the wild. This means at times of vulnerability, such as when it is pooping, it will look around for dangers in its environment. This might look like embarrassment, but it is really only self-protection.

Although a dog's range of emotions is limited, its desire for love is very real. We here at AnimalWised urge you to shower your dog with love and affection throughout its entire life.

To find out more about dog behaviour, read our articles on Which Dogs are the Smartest and A Dog's Age in Human Years.

If you want to read similar articles to Can a Dog Love a Person?, we recommend you visit our Facts about the animal kingdom category.

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