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Do you love your dog? I mean, really love your dog. … like it’s your child?
Hi guys, Crystal here for DNews
I live in LA and let me tell you, people there really love their dogs.
There are doggy gyms where your dog can meet with his trainer,
doggy spas where he can get a massage, restaurants that offer “locally sourced organic” dog food, and places where you and your dog can get a side-by-side mani-pedi.
I know many dog owners would say that their dog is their child.
Well, researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital say that actually might not be as crazy as it sounds …
When examining functional MRI data of women who were shown pictures of their dogs, pictures of their children, or neutral pictures of unrelated dogs or children,
researchers noticed that neural activation was similar if the subject was looking at either her own dog, or her own child.
This implies a similar level of attachment to both the dog and the child, and could explain why we really do treat dogs like part of our families … we think they are!
In fact, in this study there were no brain regions active when subjects viewed photos of their own dog that were not also activated by pictures of their own child.
But before you go out and start a savings account for your dog’s college education,
there was a very important difference between a mother’s response to her child, and response to her dog.
Areas of the midbrain associated with the dopamine reward circuit were only activated when a mother was looking at pictures of her own child.
These crucial brain areas, the substantia nigra and ventral tegmental area, are swimming in receptors for all the feel good molecules associated with the feeling of being “in love”: dopamine, oxytocin, and vasopressin.
Activation of this midbrain region is usually associated with human pair-bonding, basically love and romantic relationships, and dogs, just can’t turn it on.
So you love your dog, but you’re not “in love” with them. and as a person not unfamiliar with unrequited love, I thought I'd ask: How does your DOG feel about all this? Turns out, our dogs don’t necessarily reciprocate our feelings.
In an article published in Applied Animal Behavior Science, and titled “I like my dog, does my dog like me?”
scientists used the Monash Dog Owner Relationship Scale (yep that's a thing)
to determine that owners who interact more frequently with their dog, have dogs showing more affectionate, proximity-seeking behavior and this might be due to more positive reinforcement of close interaction by the owner.
Not any emotional attachment on the part of the dog.
“There is no support from this study for the view that the strength of the relationship an owner feels to his/her dog is mirrored in the strength of the bond of the dog to its owner”.
In other words, you can’t force your dog to love you back.
But a day at a doggy spa probably wouldn't hurt.
What do you think? Does your dog really love you?
Subscribe to DNews and let us know in the comments down below! You can also come find me on twitter at Poly Crystal H D
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Do We Love Dogs As Much As Babies?

19808 Folder Collection
彭彥婷 published on October 17, 2014    彭彥婷 translated    金柏嘉 reviewed
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