Every dog lover and each dog parent has millions of questions regarding what their adorable companion thinks and dreams, or about what goes on in between those dog ears while you play, train or just cuddle up on the couch for the evening.
We dog lovers are already aware of the fact that our dogs love us. Of course, one cannot have any doubt about it as you can witness it by the way they look at you or smile at you. Moreover, they show their love for us with every wag of their tail!
Though we may be sure of our dog’s love for us, one cannot but wonder at times about how much they love us or what it is that our pets actually get from this relationship.
Due to the hard work of some scientists and their relentless pursuit to understand the complicated relationship between human and dog we can now have answers to at least some of those million questions.
As stated in an article by Mic, “Not only do dogs seem to love us back, they actually see us as their family. It turns out that dogs rely on humans more than they do their own kind for affection, protection and everything in between.”
It’s no secret that dogs use their sense of smell to understand their surroundings. Based on this knowledge, a neuroimaging study was undertaken by the Emory University scientists to record how a dog’s brain processes its sense of smell.
Image source www.journaldemontreal.com
First, the scientists had to train the dogs to remain absolutely still in order to take a successful MRI.
Once the dogs were trained adequately the MRI was taken while the dogs were exposed to different smells, both familiar and unfamiliar.
The study revealed that the reward centers in the dog’s brain exploded with bright colors when the dogs were exposed to their owner’s scent.
The study showed that amongst the scores of scents the dogs were exposed to on a day to day basis, they were able to separate and prioritize the smell of their familiar human.
In a different research, carried out in Budapest by the Eotvos Lorand University under the guidance of Attila Andics, that was done to study the vocal interaction between humans and dogs it was revealed that vocal sounds charged with emotions were processed in a similar fashion by both humans and dogs.
As stated by Attila Andics to Mic, “It’s very interesting to understand the tool kit that helps such successful vocal communication between two species.”
We didn’t need neuroimaging to see that communication works [between dogs and people], but without it, we didn’t understand why it works. Now we’re really starting to.”
In addition Attila Andics noted a point that will be of great interest to all dog lovers and owners:
Dogs stand out from all other animals in that they are the only creatures that turn to their human companions for reassurance when they are anxious, distressed or frightened.
Moreover, dogs are the only creatures to look eye-to-eye with the humans.
We have treated dogs like family since forever, however now it’s scientifically proven that dogs in turn consider us as their family too!