One of the reasons that we human beings adore our canine companions so much is because of their incredibly unselfish and loving nature. Dog’s are not able to tell us how much they care for us with verbal cues, but there are, however, many ways that your best friend can show their love.
If you’ve been wondering if dog’s really do love their human owners more than themselves, you’re not alone. Simply keep reading below to find out the answer, as we delve deeper into the topic.
Do Dogs Really Love Us More?
So, the simple answer to this question is – yes. It has been scientifically proven that dogs do in fact love their owners more than they love themselves.
The strongest inbuilt emotion within your dog is pleasing you, that’s simply how they’re built. They will do anything and everything to please you and make you happy.
As well as wanting to please you, dogs also feel an innate connection to human beings, as they will see you as their protectors. If they ever feel anxious or afraid they will likely retreat to you in an attempt to seek refuge.
This means that you’re not merely a companion for your canine friend, but more like a parent who can comfort them.
Why Do Dogs Love Us So Much?
One of the main questions that we humans ask ourselves, is what have we done to make ourselves worthy of a dog’s love. They are far more selfless and giving than us by nature, and expect nothing in return.
So why exactly, do they love us? The key reason why dogs love humans so much is biological. Dogs and humans have been living alongside each other for centuries, and so it has become a part of their genetic makeup.
Over time, dogs have come to understand the emotional reactions of human beings, and so they can sense when they’ve pleased us. They can both feel and reciprocate love and affection.
The Science Behind Canine Love
So you might be wondering what kind of scientific evidence we have that shows that dogs are capable of loving humans. The key study that was undertaken regarding this subject was conducted by neuroscience researchers at Emory University.
Several dogs were taken, and instructed to sit in the same space and very still while they conducted the experiment which involved an MRI scan. The dogs were put through the MRI machine, where they had the scans taken, and were observed by the scientists.
The researchers also produced several smells for the dogs whilst they were having the brain scan. The interesting thing that happened was that when the dogs were presented with the smell of their beloved owners, a portion of their brain lit up on the MRI. When they recognized the smell, their brain triggered the reward mechanism.
What this study demonstrates is that the love that dogs have for their owners is a priority in their brains. They are capable of loving their humans not only more than other canines, but also themselves.
Can Dogs Fall In Love With Other Dogs?
Now that we’ve taken a closer look at the love that dogs have for their owners, let’s take a look at the affection that they experience for other dogs.
Based on research done by Dr. Cohen, dogs are apparently capable of falling in love with one another. Dogs allegedly have the same emotional complexity as two year old children, and so are capable of a whole host of different emotions.
Toddlers are capable of loving other dogs, and so dogs are also therefore capable of loving other dogs. They can feel an incredible sense of companionship for their canine companions, as well as having a strong dislike for some dogs which translates to feelings of anger and frustration.
Dogs can also appear to feel a sense of overwhelming sadness when their companions pass away, and may show signs similar to depression.
The ways in which dogs might show affection for other dogs includes licking each other, wagging their tails when they are near each other, showing warmth and affection for one another, playing with each other, cuddling, and grooming each other.
If you have a pair of dogs that engage in this kind of behavior, and are impossible to separate, then they are likely feeling love for one another.
How Do Dogs Show Love For Their Owners?
If you want to figure out some ways in which your dog might be trying to show you that they love you, we’ve compiled a list of ways in which they demonstrate affection. Simply keep reading, do discover more about your canine companion.
They Wag Their Tail When They’re Around You
One of the most obvious and key ways that you can tell that your canine companion feels a great sense of affection towards you is that they’ll wag their tail whenever you greet them.
After all, dogs aren’t able to convey the same expressions as human beings and present you with a warm smile, but this action is the equivalent.
Infact, a dog’s tail can actually communicate a whole host of different emotions besides affection. Some of these include fear, tension, or aggression. If you notice that your dog’s tail is incredibly loose, this means that they’re feeling relaxed and happy in your company.
The more your dog wags their tail, the happier they are in general. Sometimes their whole backside will move along with their tail, demonstrating that they are excited.
They Hold Their Eye Contact
Another frequent way that dogs show affection or love that some may not be aware of is by holding your gaze. Some dogs will actually make an effort to hold eye contact with you as a sign of intimacy and affection.
It shows that they feel safe with you, and that they trust you. It has actually been proven that when dogs hold eye contact with their owners, their brain releases a chemical that is known as ‘oxytocin’, which is the love hormone.
This hormone is most commonly released when mothers cradle their babies, so your dog’s eye contact may mean that they regard you as a parental figure.
Wanting To Sleep Next To You
You may find that when you crawl into bed in the evening, all your canine companion wants to do is jump in right next to you and fall asleep.
This actually comes from an instinct that’s ingrained deeply in our dogs. In the wild, wolves will sleep together in packs for safety.
This shows that your canine feels that you’re a part of the same pack, and are therefore family. It is debatable whether or not it is actually a good idea to sleep next to your dog or not, but nonetheless, it is a sign of deep affection and trust.
Dogs can be incredibly guarded and territorial in certain respects, so if your canine companion is sharing his or her toys with you, you know it’s love. If they bring their toys over for you to play with too, this means that they regard you as an extension of themselves.
Another slightly more unpleasant thing that a dog may do to show their affection for you is to bring dead critters or rodents into your home. Although this is regarded as a behavior associated with cats, dogs are actually animals that engage in this kind of act as well.
Make sure that if your dog brings you a dead creature that you don’t punish them, because they’re simply acting on instinct and don’t understand that they’ve done something wrong.
Simply dispose of it in the most humane way, and take your dog to the vet depending on the creature that they caught, to make sure that they haven’t acquired any diseases.
They Will Be Able To Tell When You Are Sad
Have you ever noticed that when you’re feeling blue, that your dog seems to stick around you, frequently trying to engage in contact?
This is because they can actually understand when you’re feeling unhappy, because they’re incredibly sensitive to their human’s emotions.
If they can sense that you’re feeling unhappy, then they will try to cuddle up to you, placing their paws or head on you, and just trying to be close in general.
This is why dogs make such a great therapeutic tool for those who are struggling with mental health. The physical affection that dogs offer can be an amazing serotonin booster.
They Will Roll Over In Your Presence
Showing their stomach can be an incredibly vulnerable act not just for dogs, but for many animals in general. If they are doing this, then it shows that they trust you completely.
Rolling over means that they’re incredibly relaxed too, and they may be looking for some pets on their stomach.
They Will Stand Next To You When You Eat Food
This is another behavior which is common amongst dogs because of their innate drives. Dogs serve to protect one another, and because you’re a member of their pack, they will make sure to take care of you when you’re in a vulnerable situation such as eating your food.
Although this is a sign of affection, some experts do argue that this can actually lead to some unhealthy behaviors. If your dog is overly protective, it can lead to some territorial type behaviors, which can eventually cause your dog to become aggressive to those around you.
Your Dog Licks You Frequently
If your dog is constantly slobbering over you with its tongue, then you can guarantee that this is a sign that they feel a great sense of affection towards you. They may lick their humans face for a whole number of different reasons, but the main one is a show of love.
This instinct starts out when they are puppies. When they are in the company of their mother, they will go ahead and lick their face when they are feeling hungry and need to be fed. It’s a way of signaling to their mother that they need to be taken care of.
This translates to when they are adult canines, as dogs never seem to grow out of licking. This means that they regard you as their primary caregiver.
It could also mean that they’re trying to groom you. Dogs will also lick each other to try to keep one another clean. Because you are a member of their pack, they will lick you too to try to bathe you. This means that they feel very intimate and close to you.
They Will Try To Jump Up At You
Jumping is a behavior that we try to discourage in dogs that we try to eliminate from the time that they are puppies, especially if they are of a larger breed, so that they don’t hurt anybody. But, although jumping is an unwanted behavior, it does convey a great deal of affection.
Believe it or not, the main reason that your dog is jumping up at you is because they are trying to lick your face. Just like the sign of affection involving licking that we described above, dogs do this to their mothers when they are puppies. This again means that they feel like you are their mother, and want to experience that closeness with you.
They Will Follow You Around The House
If your dog feels affectionately for you, you’ve probably noticed that they act like a shadow, constantly following you around the house. The primary reason for this behavior is because they feel safe around you, and this makes them desire to be in your presence.
This is especially true if your dog is still a puppy, as they probably feel anxious and insecure whilst you are away. As your dog gets older, following you is merely a sign of companionship.
Dogs are undoubtedly capable of love, infact, the love that they hold for their owners is far greater than the love that they feel for themselves.
Dogs can show affection in so many ways, and if you witness your canine companion displaying some of the behaviors listed above, you can be sure that they love you.
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