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Old 12-11-2016, 08:44 PM
SanDiegoTim SanDiegoTim is offline
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Dog Question

It's pretty apparent that dog owners love their pets, but do dogs have the equivalent of love for their owners? Or do dogs just respond to someone who treats them well?
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Old 12-11-2016, 09:18 PM
wolfpup wolfpup is offline
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Dogs will of course respond well to those who treat them well, but so will humans. But you're obviously asking a more complex question, and yes, there is a lot more to it than that.

The human-dog relationship is deep and complex, and dogs know and sense far more than we give them credit for. Whether a dog can know "love" in human terms is perhaps not the right question, but they form attachments and loyalties that can be profoundly deep and enduring for as long as they live. It's been said -- and from personal experience I believe it -- that the Bernese Mountain Dog bonds with its human companion for life. I don't think this is atypical, but merely more obvious and extreme than other breeds.
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Old 12-11-2016, 11:02 PM
Sunny Daze Sunny Daze is online now
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There have actually been some scientific tests done in attempts to prove whether or not dogs feel affection. The conclusion seems to be "yes", based on the release of the hormone oxytocin. Here is one article that briefly discusses the conclusions drawn from those studies (as well as looks at how our cats might feel about us): Dog affection

Similarly, this article reviews some studies done on dog brains (using MRIs) that also seem to support that dogs feel affection towards their humans. It also covers some other studies, including behavioral ones, that support dog affection. Article

IOW, science is coming up with more and more evidence that dogs do feel affection for their humans.

Last edited by Sunny Daze; 12-11-2016 at 11:05 PM.
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Old 12-11-2016, 11:47 PM
dolphinboy dolphinboy is online now
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While I'm not an expert, dogs clearly seem to bond with their humans over random people who many play with them or even feed them. My dog enjoys playing with other dogs and so taking him to a kennel owned by a friend when we go away really isn't a burden for him. But you can bet that as soon as we get back he will leave his dog friends and run out into our car expecting us to take him 'home'. He always does that with us, and I've never seem him do it with anyone else. He's been with us since he was a puppy. We feed him, take care of him and provide him with lots of affection and a warm place to sleep at night. When he wakes up in the morning he knows we will be there to greet him, and we know he will be there to greet us. It's a mutually beneficial relationship that we seem to have exclusively with each other. At least for now.

Last edited by dolphinboy; 12-11-2016 at 11:48 PM.
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Old 12-12-2016, 12:09 AM
Hilarity N. Suze Hilarity N. Suze is offline
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I think my dogs love me.

Also, my dog really loves a lot of my friends, but not all of them, and it has nothing to do with them feeding the dog, or even paying a lot of attention to the dog, or even how I feel about that particular person. (At least one of these people is not really a worthy person. I like the person despite all shortcomings, and so does my dog.)

I think my first dog loved her previous owner (first eight years of her life) more than she loved me, and that them giving her up kind of broke her heart, but I do think she liked me.

All my other dogs I have had since they were puppies, and I'm pretty sure they liked me a lot--best of all.

I'm also pretty sure my first cat loved me. I don't think I want to know about the others, though. Even though I do treat them pretty well.
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Old 12-12-2016, 12:15 AM
UDS UDS is offline
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Dogs are pack animals, and they do have an instinct of loyalty to/care for other members of the pack, and particular instincts with regard to the animal identified as pack leader. Whether this can be termed "affection" is, I suppose, debatable but, yeah, why not? And I think that there's evidence that in domesticated dogs these instincts transfer to the human family/human owner.
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Old 12-12-2016, 01:22 AM
Tim R. Mortiss Tim R. Mortiss is offline
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I agree that the terminology can be debated ad nauseum, but I think it is pretty clear that dogs have a very strong affinity to those they accept as their "pack." My dog is happiest when both his Mommy and Daddy are home, and is never quite as happy when only one of us is around.

(I can only assume that he is even less happy when neither of us is around, but I can't testify to it because nobody is there to observe it)

Last edited by Tim R. Mortiss; 12-12-2016 at 01:24 AM.
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Old 12-12-2016, 04:07 AM
Hilarity N. Suze Hilarity N. Suze is offline
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Here is a weird thing. My dog and my cat do not get along particularly well. They don't fight, usually. Every now and then they play, but they have all different ideas of what play means so that doesn't usually work out.

A couple of months ago the cat had to go to the vet, and he had to stay there overnight. When I brought him home, the dog rejoiced. He acted just almost as happy as if another family member had been away for a bit and then returned. Maybe not quite as delighted as one of my friends that he likes showing up, or the kid getting home from camp, but still, happy. Surprised the hell out of all of us. Especially, I think, the cat.

So apparently he accepts the cat as a pack member. And I think he misses the other cat, too. (Saha, 1997-2014, now buried in the rose garden.)
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Old 12-12-2016, 05:32 AM
chacoguy chacoguy is offline
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You tell me.
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Old 12-12-2016, 07:24 AM
kayaker kayaker is online now
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We have a house/pet sitter who spoils our dogs rotten when we go away for a week.

When we return, it's kind of scary how happy the dogs are.
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Old 12-12-2016, 07:35 AM
cochrane cochrane is offline
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When I lived with my mom and dad, they had their dog and I had dog of my own. While both dogs loved all of us, each one seemed to know who they belonged to. Their dog seemed more bonded to them and mine was bonded more me.
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Old 12-12-2016, 07:59 AM
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Originally Posted by SanDiegoTim View Post
It's pretty apparent that dog owners love their pets, but do dogs have the equivalent of love for their owners?
Have you ever watched videos of dogs greeting their owners returning from military service?
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Old 12-12-2016, 08:14 AM
Mangetout Mangetout is offline
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We have a house/pet sitter who spoils our dogs rotten when we go away for a week.

When we return, it's kind of scary how happy the dogs are.
When I get home from work each day, my little dog appears so happy to see me that she can barely stand up (she's a young dog but appears literally overwhelmed with excitement to see me).

I am the 'big dog' in the house (that is to say that I'm fairly sure I have established myself as the pack leader in the eyes of the dog - and I have done this by behaving sort of like a 'big dog' - when the 'little dog' misbehaves, I firmly (but gently) pin her down by the neck, get in her face and put on a growly voice to say "I'm the big dog. You're the little dog. Got that?") - it's hard to say whether she's acting out of genuine affection or if it's just submissive behaviour to the established pack leader.
I guess it eventually comes down to the 'philosophical zombie' question. I can't tell what's going on, if anything, in the head of another human, let alone a dog, but it makes sense to assume certain things.

Last edited by Mangetout; 12-12-2016 at 08:15 AM.
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Old 12-12-2016, 08:47 AM
Waxwinged Waxwinged is offline
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As to the original question: undoubtedly. There's a reason why dog loyalty is lauded as much as it is.

Re: Dogs being pack animals.

I recall reading an article, though the particular link for the citation escapes me, that described the way dogs vs. wolves made pack decision. Wolves had the the rigid hierarchy. Dogs... well, dogs went with whichever dog had most friends/was most popular at the time. It would be nice if people stopped equating dogs to tame wolves. They diverged from a common ancestor literally tens of thousands of years ago, and are vastly different, behavior-wise.

Last edited by Waxwinged; 12-12-2016 at 08:48 AM. Reason: For clarity.
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Old 12-12-2016, 08:53 AM
Jackmannii Jackmannii is online now
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Again, anyone who's seen/experienced a dog's joyous reunion with its owner(s) after a period of absence would never have doubt on this question.

I sometimes see belittling references to dogs having an automatic attachment to whoever raises them, as though this was a disqualifying factor. The same is largely true of humans.
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Old 12-12-2016, 09:22 AM
Just Asking Questions Just Asking Questions is online now
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It would be nice if people stopped equating dogs to tame wolves.
I love this one experiment video I saw. A piece of meat was put under a low ledge, where the animal could see it, but not get it out. Wolves would try and try and try and try and never give up trying to get it. Dogs would try a couple times, then look up at the humans for help.

Who's the smart doggie? Yes, you are!
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Old 12-12-2016, 09:38 AM
Waxwinged Waxwinged is offline
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I love this one experiment video I saw. A piece of meat was put under a low ledge, where the animal could see it, but not get it out. Wolves would try and try and try and try and never give up trying to get it. Dogs would try a couple times, then look up at the humans for help.

Who's the smart doggie? Yes, you are!
Dogs are expert tool users, and we're their tools. ;-)
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Old 12-12-2016, 11:28 AM
Blue Blistering Barnacle Blue Blistering Barnacle is online now
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IMHO, animals (including humans) do most or all of their thinking on an emotional level. Basically "gut checks" for most interactions. We humans have an extra special level of cognition and communication that interacts with our emotions, giving us more complex emotions. And of course we have opportunities to be very rational and analytic, essentially trying to rise above our emotional thinking. Mostly I believe we think semi-rationally. With dogs, it's way toward the emotional side of the spectrum.

In short, my answer to the OP is that dogs mostly only have love* (and hate and fear and desire and ...) bouncing around in their brains.

*Love meaning like, have positive feelings for, have loyalty for, etc. Without human complications.
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Old 12-12-2016, 11:52 AM
beowulff beowulff is offline
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Dogs are expert tool users, and we're their tools. ;-)
Our newly adopted dog is blind. I find it ironic that I am his seeing-eye Human.
He’s the most “attached” dog I’ve even had - he wants to be as close as possible to me all the time. Just being in the same room isn’t good enough - he wants to be touching me. I don’t know if it’s “love,” but if I’m downstairs, he whines until my wife lets him down so he can be with me, even though she’s available for human companionship.

Last edited by beowulff; 12-12-2016 at 11:53 AM.
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Old 12-12-2016, 12:36 PM
Telemark Telemark is offline
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If anyone wants a smile and tear here's a video of dogs greeting their returning owners. That certainly looks like more than just another person who feeds me.
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Old 12-12-2016, 12:46 PM
cochrane cochrane is offline
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Another anecdote: When I had to go to the hospital for a few days, I returned to my parents' home where they were taking care of my dog. I got settled on the couch and she came and sat right in front of me and kept offering her paw for me to hold. Even though I'd only been gone for four or five days, she didn't leave me for at least 2 1/2 hours. She kept alternately lying down in front of the couch and rising up to give me her paw.
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Old 12-12-2016, 01:00 PM
purplehearingaid purplehearingaid is offline
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I dated a guy who had a dog and he didn't treat his dog very well , and my b/c complained that his dog didn't bark to warn him of anything. The dog took a liking to me and I had to buy gas and the dog was in my car , he wouldn't let the
gas station attendant near my car ! I had to pump my own gas . So I guess some dogs do pick you they care about.
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Old 12-12-2016, 01:01 PM
Walken After Midnight Walken After Midnight is offline
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The faithfulness and affection of a dog to its owner is recognised and forms a poignant scene in the epic poem Homer's Odyssey, composed nearly three thousand years ago.

Odysseus returns home after twenty years, where many suitors are hoping to marry his wife. He is disguised as a beggar and no-one recognises him except for his old dog Argos, who is now neglected and lying on a pile of cow manure, infested with lice, old and very tired. On seeing Odysseus, the dog "dropped his ears and wagged his tail, but he could not get close up to his master". Odysseus cannot acknowledge the dog as it will reveal his identity, whereupon Argos "passed into the darkness of death, now that he had fulfilled his destiny of faith and seen his master once more after twenty years".

Here is the full passage:
SPOILER:
As they were speaking, a dog that had been lying asleep raised his head and pricked up his ears. This was Argos, whom Odysseus had bred before setting out for Troy, but he had never had any enjoyment from him. In the old days he used to be taken out by the young men when they went hunting wild goats, or deer, or hares, but now that his master was gone he was lying neglected on the heaps of mule and cow dung that lay in front of the stable doors till the men should come and draw it away to manure the great close; and he was full of fleas. As soon as he saw Odysseus standing there, he dropped his ears and wagged his tail, but he could not get close up to his master. When Odysseus saw the dog on the other side of the yard, dashed a tear from his eyes without Eumaeus seeing it, and said:

'Eumaeus, what a noble hound that is over yonder on the manure heap: his build is splendid; is he as fine a fellow as he looks, or is he only one of those dogs that come begging about a table, and are kept merely for show?'

'This dog,' answered Eumaeus, 'belonged to him who has died in a far country. If he were what he was when Odysseus left for Troy, he would soon show you what he could do. There was not a wild beast in the forest that could get away from him when he was once on its tracks. But now he has fallen on evil times, for his master is dead and gone, and the women take no care of him. Servants never do their work when their master's hand is no longer over them, for Zeus takes half the goodness out of a man when he makes a slave of him.'

So saying he entered the well-built mansion, and made straight for the riotous pretenders in the hall. But Argos passed into the darkness of death, now that he had fulfilled his destiny of faith and seen his master once more after twenty years.

—Homer, Odyssey, Book 17, lines 290-327
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Old 12-13-2016, 03:19 PM
Dinsdale Dinsdale is offline
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I'm interested in checking out some of these links. I've had dogs almost all of my life, and will get another one when my current 8-yr old passes.

But I'm not entirely sure how one can parcel out "emotion" o/b/o my dog, as opposed to their behavior as a pack animal respecting the higher status members of the pack, and their attempts to derive certain benefits from their pack fellow pack members. You all know the argument - how much of HUMAN emotions can be considered to confer evolutionary advantage? I then to think the answer is not binary.

I tend to want to THINK that my dog loves me, but what he might really be loving is the fact that I feed him regularly and provide him a safe, comfortable place to live. If a dog loves its owner, does a wolf love its higher ranked pack members?

I think it pretty clear than animals are not unfeeling automatons. But I did quite a bit of reading on this over the years, and have discussed this quite a bit with my wife of 30 years and co-owners of at least 5 dogs. And I'm not sure what amount of the dog's behavior is affection, as opposed to manipulative/goal oriented.
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Old 12-13-2016, 05:29 PM
Blue Blistering Barnacle Blue Blistering Barnacle is online now
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I'm interested in checking out some of these links. I've had dogs almost all of my life, and will get another one when my current 8-yr old passes.



But I'm not entirely sure how one can parcel out "emotion" o/b/o my dog, as opposed to their behavior as a pack animal respecting the higher status members of the pack, and their attempts to derive certain benefits from their pack fellow pack members. You all know the argument - how much of HUMAN emotions can be considered to confer evolutionary advantage? I then to think the answer is not binary.



I tend to want to THINK that my dog loves me, but what he might really be loving is the fact that I feed him regularly and provide him a safe, comfortable place to live. If a dog loves its owner, does a wolf love its higher ranked pack members?



I think it pretty clear than animals are not unfeeling automatons. But I did quite a bit of reading on this over the years, and have discussed this quite a bit with my wife of 30 years and co-owners of at least 5 dogs. And I'm not sure what amount of the dog's behavior is affection, as opposed to manipulative/goal oriented.


In my opinion, yes, your dog loves you and a pack wolf loves its pack leader.

I hope that it's not too cynical to point out that for most of us humans, real life love involves significant degrees of self-interest, often severely modified by cultural expectations.

It's like that old college chestnut, "is it really possible for someone to perform selfless acts". This always devolves into quibbles about the value of various secondary gains an individual gets from whatever good deed is considered.

I think most adults eventually adopt a relatively unsophisticated but pragmatic view: sure real life love is messy and not pure, but so what? You just do your best and power through, and try not to look under too many logs.

I assure you, if your dog is most attached to you (as opposed to another family member) and it seems to love you , your dog loves you more than probably anything in the world, and it probably loves you more completely than anyone you know does.

For this discussion, I argue that "pretty is as pretty does".
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Old 12-13-2016, 06:45 PM
Nars Glinley Nars Glinley is online now
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If it is indistinguishable from love, then it is love.
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Old 12-13-2016, 06:55 PM
Lemur866 Lemur866 is online now
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Do humans feel love?

If human beings feel love, then dogs feel love.
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Old 12-13-2016, 07:21 PM
wolfpup wolfpup is offline
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If it is indistinguishable from love, then it is love.
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Originally Posted by Lemur866 View Post
Do humans feel love?

If human beings feel love, then dogs feel love.
Some really nice sentiments there, and I agree.

I should perhaps add that we have to be conscious of not anthropomorphizing dogs and regarding them as human, because they're not (I understand that neither of you are doing this, I'm just making that point) but that's not a fault but simply a difference. To attribute to dogs the character of humanity does a disservice to both, and obscures the fact that each has admirable traits that would benefit the other.

I should also mention that my comment in #2 about Bernese Mountain Dogs bonding for life was not meant to single out the Bernese and just came from my deep affection for my own beloved Bernese, and there's no doubt that all breeds have some element of this, perhaps some even more.
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Old 12-13-2016, 08:07 PM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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It's pretty apparent that dog owners love their pets...
How is it made apparent? Every sign of love that humans show, dogs show, too. If we're willing, based on those signs, to conclude that humans "really" love, then we should conclude that dogs do, too.
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Old 12-14-2016, 12:05 AM
HoneyBadgerDC HoneyBadgerDC is online now
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Humans are capable of loving someone even if that means not being a part of their lives. I don't think dogs can do that.
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Old 12-14-2016, 06:05 AM
Flying Rabbit Flying Rabbit is offline
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To understand how much a dog can love their owner, and that it goes beyond treats, all you have to do is read the story of Hachikō, the famous Japanese dog that kept going to meet his owner at the train station for 8 years after his owner died. The dog went back to the same exact spot that the owner was supposed to meet him at, hoping to see him get off the train every single day. And the children of the man did try to adopt him but he ran away and went back to the station. He had to keep looking for his owner. So sad.

Some dogs are more loyal than others I had a border collie that didn't want anyone else to walk him except for me and my partner. His favorite toy was a frisbee and if someone else threw it, besides me or my partner, he wouldn't fetch it. Whenever I left him at the kennel the people said he never warmed up to them, they threw the frisbee at him and it just hit him in the head and fell to the ground. Just moped all day and didn't want to go for walks. That's why its so sad when you see a dog at a pound, desperately looking at the door hoping the next person that walks in is the owner coming back to get them. Dogs are full of love its people who aren't disloyal or unloving.

I have two border collies now, and they both have different attitudes. One likes to be walked by other people especially men, I guess he feels more alpha with a man walking him. The other one, if I hand a leash over to someone will walk with them reluctantly but keeps looking back at me and wanting to get away.
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Old 12-14-2016, 07:18 AM
Blue Blistering Barnacle Blue Blistering Barnacle is online now
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Humans are capable of loving someone even if that means not being a part of their lives. I don't think dogs can do that.


Well, yeah. They never call or write either.

And my dog has never, ever bought me a nice treat at the store.

Ungrateful curs!
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Old 12-14-2016, 08:51 AM
Darren Garrison Darren Garrison is offline
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How is it made apparent? Every sign of love that humans show, dogs show, too. If we're willing, based on those signs, to conclude that humans "really" love, then we should conclude that dogs do, too.
If you accept that premise, then there is are logical consequences. Either "really loving" evolved (at least) twice independently, or the common ancestor of humans and dogs (along with all descendants of that ancestor) "really loved." That common ancestor lived around 90 to 100 million years ago. So you would need to accept that at least the blue group and the green group "really love."

Chew on that.
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Old 12-14-2016, 10:09 AM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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I do not know which of those conclusions is correct, but I am comfortable with either of them (with the caveat that it's possible that some of our cousin species secondarily lost or diminished the capability for love).

Quote:
Quoth HoneyBadgerDC:

Humans are capable of loving someone even if that means not being a part of their lives. I don't think dogs can do that.
To the extent that that's true, I think it's more due to a lack of understanding, not to a lack of love, and while dogs do have a great deal of understanding, as animals go, I won't attempt to claim that they understand to the same degree that humans do. Though I would even question the premise: There have, after all, been cases of dogs sacrificing their lives for those they loved, and dying is the extreme case of not being a part of one's life.
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Old 12-14-2016, 10:27 AM
Blue Blistering Barnacle Blue Blistering Barnacle is online now
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I do not know which of those conclusions is correct, but I am comfortable with either of them (with the caveat that it's possible that some of our cousin species secondarily lost or diminished the capability for love).


To the extent that that's true, I think it's more due to a lack of understanding, not to a lack of love, and while dogs do have a great deal of understanding, as animals go, I won't attempt to claim that they understand to the same degree that humans do. Though I would even question the premise: There have, after all, been cases of dogs sacrificing their lives for those they loved, and dying is the extreme case of not being a part of one's life.


Well, yeah, but I don't think anyone's suggesting here that dogs have any concept of their own mortality.

I'd rather go the other way and point out that it's moderately exceptional for humans to show their love that way.

I also don't know how many here are suggesting that dogs have the emotional depth and complexity of adult humans. I'm certainly not. I'm just arguing that they (and other mammals) do a lot of their thinking on an emotional level.

To the extent that love includes wanting to be around someone, wanting to please someone, and subordinating your naked self interest and immediate desires to someone else, than dogs do seem to love.

Lots of other mammals do, too.

I'm sure we'll here the same from bird fanciers. I really think we are talking very basic limbic brain here.
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Old 12-14-2016, 10:31 AM
Darren Garrison Darren Garrison is offline
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There have, after all, been cases of dogs sacrificing their lives for those they loved, and dying is the extreme case of not being a part of one's life.
I don't have a strong problem with the possibility of dogs feeling love, but I have gigantic problems with the idea of dogs having a concept of personal mortality.

Last edited by Darren Garrison; 12-14-2016 at 10:31 AM.
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Old 12-14-2016, 10:51 AM
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This dog was reunited with his owner after TWO YEARS. I like how the dog is shy until he smells Daddy's hand, then he's all up in his face.

They know. It's love.
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Old 12-14-2016, 12:08 PM
Blue Blistering Barnacle Blue Blistering Barnacle is online now
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This dog was reunited with his owner after TWO YEARS. I like how the dog is shy until he smells Daddy's hand, then he's all up in his face.



They know. It's love.


Well, if that dog really loved him, he wouldn't have stepped on his balls and licked him all over the face with the same tongue he uses to lick his privates. Maybe an acrostic poem would be more in order.
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Old 12-14-2016, 01:48 PM
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Originally Posted by cochrane View Post
Another anecdote: When I had to go to the hospital for a few days, I returned to my parents' home where they were taking care of my dog. I got settled on the couch and she came and sat right in front of me and kept offering her paw for me to hold. Even though I'd only been gone for four or five days, she didn't leave me for at least 2 1/2 hours. She kept alternately lying down in front of the couch and rising up to give me her paw.
DesertRoomie had a dog that I would say loved her. Three days after he was born, when she would kneel by the whelping pan he would leave his mother and crawl over to the side where she was kneeling. Now, at three days his eyes were not even open yet so we're not sure how he sensed her presence, but sense it he did. None of the rest of the litter of nine would do that, and he did not respond when I was by the pan.

Similar to your story, when he was grown there were times -- not just when she was feeling unwell -- he would come over to her and offer his paw. The unique part was he would do this when she was reading or sitting at the computer. He would put his paw on her hand so that it was over her index metacarpal knuckle with the knuckle in the space between his main pad and the toe pads. Then he'd flex his toes, squeezing the knuckle ever so slightly. Lacking a thumb, it was the closest he could get to holding her hand.
  #40  
Old 12-14-2016, 01:58 PM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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Dogs have a sense of their own personal mortality to the extent that they recognize dangerous situations and react with fear to them. Like, for instance, most dogs (not counting terriers, because they're insane) upon encountering, say, a bear, would back down, because they rightly fear the bear. But a dog accompanying a loved one (puppy, human, whatever) who encounters the same bear might instead fight it off, likely losing in the process, but giving the loved one the opportunity to escape.
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Old 12-14-2016, 02:52 PM
wolfpup wolfpup is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
Dogs have a sense of their own personal mortality to the extent that they recognize dangerous situations and react with fear to them. Like, for instance, most dogs (not counting terriers, because they're insane) upon encountering, say, a bear, would back down, because they rightly fear the bear. But a dog accompanying a loved one (puppy, human, whatever) who encounters the same bear might instead fight it off, likely losing in the process, but giving the loved one the opportunity to escape.
Exactly. Dogs have no philosophical concept of mortality, but they do have an instinctual one.

One of the things I find the most admirable about dogs is their almost insuppressible optimism, that perennial doggie smile. The don't waste their lives fretting about the future -- they have the enviable freedom to fully embrace the here and now, because really, that's all there is. It reminds me of this quote from Wendell Berry:
When despair for the world grows in me and I wake in the night at the least sound in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be, I go and lie down where the wood drake rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds. I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief. I come into the presence of still water. And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light. For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and I am free.
  #42  
Old 12-14-2016, 03:59 PM
Telemark Telemark is offline
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If you want to compare who loves you more, lock your dog and your wife in the trunk of your car for a few hours. When you open it up, guess who's more happy to see you?
  #43  
Old 12-15-2016, 10:27 AM
MacLir MacLir is offline
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As it was put in John 15:13 "Greater love hath no man than to lay down his life …"

Khan was rescued from an animal shelter. Just four days later …
  #44  
Old 12-15-2016, 03:12 PM
Max Torque Max Torque is online now
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Humans and dogs basically evolved alongside one another. The bond between us runs deep.

This video, though very washed-out, I find pretty neat, especially the second experiment. Basically, a man reads a book in front of an unfamiliar dog, who is not trained in any special way. The man then puts the book under his chair. Shortly, another person sneaks in and steals the book. The dog, even though he has no particular reason to do so, starts acting to alert the man. Like, "hey mister, someone took that thing that was important to you."

We definitely have an inherent trust, at the very least.
  #45  
Old 12-16-2016, 06:18 PM
goddessodd goddessodd is offline
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Doggie Love

I don't know if dogs feel what humans think of as love, but there have been thousands of cases of dogs behaving in a truly altruistic, even heroic fashion, and I don't think they would sacrifice themselves unless there was something very close to love there. I don't know if loyalty is enough to make one willing to die for another, but I know that love is.

I provide "end of life" care for my rescue group, meaning I take in extremely elderly, abused, neglected, sick and dying dogs, (or otherwise unadoptable dogs) and provide them with a loving, dignified place to end their days. For some of these poor things, I am the only love they have ever known. They seem very grateful, and I think that some, if they survive long enough, come to love and trust me. Others, who fell upon hard times when their elderly human guardians became unable to provide for them, seem to miss their former humans until the end of their days. I have taken this sort of dog to the hospice, to visit with their dying human, and seen the heartbreak when they realize their human is leaving them. I have taken dogs to the funerals of their humans, and I truly believe they grieve as much as any human would, and then resign themselves to living out their days with me. Sometimes, they follow their human loves almost immediately.

If these animals are not feeling love, they are certainly feeling something close enough for me.
  #46  
Old 12-18-2016, 02:02 PM
Chopsticks Chopsticks is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cochrane View Post
When I lived with my mom and dad, they had their dog and I had dog of my own. While both dogs loved all of us, each one seemed to know who they belonged to. Their dog seemed more bonded to them and mine was bonded more me.
This and bonding in general is why the majority of seeing eye dogs are Labrador's. They live with one family for their first year or two, then work with a trainer for a few months, then get to go with their new handler. Successful guide loves all their humans, but isn't a one-person dog.

Now for PTSD and seizure dogs the bond is the most important part and the training is much easier, so they can use a dog the human already owns etc.

(our guide dog loves the family, but will work with anyone who has food. The rescue dog on the other hand bonded to me and only me.)
  #47  
Old 12-18-2016, 02:47 PM
dropzone dropzone is offline
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Originally Posted by Blue Blistering Barnacle View Post
In short, my answer to the OP is that dogs mostly only have love* (and hate and fear and desire and ...) bouncing around in their brains.
Not a lot of room for anything else. Bitches are smarter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
Dogs have a sense of their own personal mortality to the extent that they recognize dangerous situations and react with fear to them. Like, for instance, most dogs (not counting terriers, because they're insane) upon encountering, say, a bear...
Effing A! One of mine (Fiona) would distract the bear while the other (Thisbe) bit his balls off.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Max Torque View Post
Humans and dogs basically evolved alongside one another. The bond between us runs deep.
This cannot be stressed enough. We wouldn't have succeeded as we did without dogs.

As for love, we recently adopted SIL's Aussiedoodle. She will be back in town for Xmas at mom's home. I said I would ask the home if it would be okay to bring him, so he could see his people-mom. Wife said, "No! You can do that if he's going back to Tacoma with her, but if he's staying it will break his heart. You remember how Dylan was when Trilby died. He nearly died until we got the Little Girls."

Now, as he's concluding that he's shit compared with them, and is learning his place in the pack, he's happy. I can even pet him without Thisbe biting his balls off.
  #48  
Old 12-25-2016, 08:26 PM
david_42 david_42 is offline
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I have no doubt our dogs love my wife. I feed them, walk them, give them treats, tummy rubs, etc, but the second my wife walks in the door, I don't exist.
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