Do Dogs Love Their Owners?
Have you ever stared lovingly into the soulful eyes of your loving pooch, convincing yourself that this is an act of love?
Dogs are more complex creatures than they are often credited as being, and if they can feel joy, why not love. However, the question is not whether they can feel love, but can they feel love for you.
Studies have shown that dogs are able to respond to human emotions based on human facial expression, appropriately identifying an expression based on the voice that goes with it. They have also shown to respond more positively to the scent of their owner than to that of other dogs and humans. This response showed a spike in positive chemicals in the brain.
Staring lovingly into your eyes is not a natural behaviour for dogs. In fact, wolves in the wild do not practice this and show no chemical changes in the brain when they do. Dogs however, do reflect a change, but this is attributed to a learned behaviour.
Your dog may be manipulating you. Still, we know dogs are naturally empathetic to their owners and those in need, characteristics that make them ideal companions. Some dogs have even been known to mourn their owners upon their passing. By this token, it’s acceptable to believe that your dog does love you, but that’s between you two.