Thread: Dog Question
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Old 12-13-2016, 04:29 PM
Blue Blistering Barnacle Blue Blistering Barnacle is offline
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 5,360
Originally Posted by Dinsdale View Post
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".