Can Dogs Love?

  • HottJoe

    Posts: 21366

    Jun 11, 2013 11:02 PM GMT
    The other day I posted that my dog loves me, and it led to an email exchange with a poster I'll call YoungScienceGuy.

    He said it was scientifically proven that dogs are incapable of love.

    I asked if he could scientifically prove that loves exists. I said maybe love is an illusion. If we can't measure love with science how can we know that dogs aren't capable of it? What if love is the simplest thing?

    He said I was the most naive person he's ever met.icon_confused.gif

    Harsh, but at least my dog still loves me.icon_razz.gif

    So, what say you, RJ? Would only a fool think his dog loves him?
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    Jun 11, 2013 11:11 PM GMT
    The nerd in me says he could be right. But whatever dogs are doing for us, it sure is good. No matter if you're ugly or handsome, fat or hot, able bodied or in a wheelchair, a dog will "love" you unconditionally.
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    Jun 11, 2013 11:22 PM GMT
    You know, I ask myself this question all the time...
    I have 2 very affectionate dogs, my little guy is constantly begging me to pick him up and cuddle him ( he's perched on my lap as I type this ) My youngest girl is a big kisser and is always searching for a toy to bring to me and play with her.At night they are both squeezed beside me as tight as they can get...
    I don't know if you could call this love though, is it just the pack mentality/instinct? is it a conditioned response to my "training"?

    One sure thing that my connection to my pooches has proven to me is that I am capable of unconditional love whether it is genuinely being reciprocated or not.
  • AMoonHawk

    Posts: 11406

    Jun 11, 2013 11:25 PM GMT
    I know that all my dogs have loved me. They all showed me they did. They were happy and wagged their tail when I came home. When my dog was sick and dying he knew I was sad and leaned his head against me a place his paw in my hand. Yes, dogs do love their owners when they know their owners love them.

    The same question can be asked of humans. Are humans actually capable of loving, or is it just some inner dependency need?
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    Jun 11, 2013 11:56 PM GMT
    There's gotta be something there. A scientist can't have an answer for everything a dog does. Or cat.
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    Jun 12, 2013 12:53 AM GMT
    Who knows. my dog is super affectionate towards me, and I think he feels love. is it the same brain movements as when we as humans feel love? i don't know. but dogs are man's best friend for sure.
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    Jun 12, 2013 12:56 AM GMT
    I don't have a dog icon_sad.gif

    BUT, I know my turtles love me. My turtle "Tank" sleeps right next to me, and my turtle "Tina" has been with me for 11 years.

    I'm sure animals are capable of loving.
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    Jun 12, 2013 12:57 AM GMT
    Dogs only love as long as they're fed.

    Stop feeding a dog and it'll turn on every human faster than the speed of light.
  • Timbales

    Posts: 13993

    Jun 12, 2013 12:57 AM GMT
    I think dogs can love. They are social animals and form pack bonds.
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    Jun 12, 2013 12:59 AM GMT
    paulflexes saidDogs only love as long as they're fed.

    Stop feeding a dog and it'll turn on every human faster than the speed of light.


    Paul, the same can be said for most humans. . .
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    Jun 12, 2013 1:00 AM GMT
    Slim2010 said
    paulflexes saidDogs only love as long as they're fed.

    Stop feeding a dog and it'll turn on every human faster than the speed of light.


    Paul, the same can be said for most humans. . .
    Then you better not stop feeding me! icon_mad.gif
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    Jun 12, 2013 1:01 AM GMT
    paulflexes said
    Slim2010 said
    paulflexes saidDogs only love as long as they're fed.

    Stop feeding a dog and it'll turn on every human faster than the speed of light.


    Paul, the same can be said for most humans. . .
    Then you better not stop feeding me! icon_mad.gif


    Oh. . . I won't. icon_wink.gificon_wink.gif
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    Jun 12, 2013 1:02 AM GMT
    Slim2010 said
    paulflexes said
    Slim2010 said
    paulflexes saidDogs only love as long as they're fed.

    Stop feeding a dog and it'll turn on every human faster than the speed of light.


    Paul, the same can be said for most humans. . .
    Then you better not stop feeding me! icon_mad.gif


    Oh. . . I won't. icon_wink.gificon_wink.gif
    Yay icon_biggrin.gif *wags tail*
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    Jun 12, 2013 1:06 AM GMT
    Assuming love requires consciousness (or, rather, being self-conscious), it seems the science isn't yet in....

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/krulwich/2011/03/03/134167145/i-sniff-therefore-i-am-are-dogs-self-conscious

    "Dogs have been mirror-tested, and dogs don't pass. Because they're not smart enough to recognize themselves in a mirror, the presumption is they can't think of themselves as unique individuals, so they aren't part of the self-conscious elite in the animal kingdom....

    dog_custom-81f7b6742f3fb77d8b985f836537e

    ...Enter, howling, professor emeritus Marc Bekoff of the University of Colorado. Bekoff thinks a test that uses sight to determine self-recognition is unfair to animals that depend on their noses. Dog brains are much better at smelling than ape brains, so Bekoff decided to design a self-recognition test that would make sense to a dog....

    ...The study lasted five winters. ("This was a labor of love," he says.) Bekoff timed the sniffs and discovered "that Jethro spent less time sniffing his own urine than that of other males or females," suggesting that Jethro recognized himself when encountering his own yellow deposits.

    Does this amount to a test of true self-recognition?

    Well, not exactly. Recognizing yourself in a mirror seems more telling than smelling traces of yourself in the snow. Bekoff cautiously describes his finding as evidence that dogs have a "sense of mine-ness", that they know this pee belongs to them

    Dogs will have to wait till someone invents a better test before scientists can declare them self-conscious.
    "
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    Jun 12, 2013 1:32 AM GMT
    Dan_xD saidA dog's brain is not as developed as our brain is (obviously), and are therefore incapable of complex emotions such as love.

    If humans don't have wings (or any other method that allows for flight), are humans able to fly? No.

    If dogs lack the developed sections of the brain which we have that is responsible for complex emotions (ie., the developed hypothalamus, the hippocampus, and the amygdala), can dogs exhibit complex emotions? The simple answer is NO.

    What people generally think of as affection or love from your dog is simply a response to you providing for them, or acting as the alpha figure.



    Your presumption that any brain would have to be as developed to exhibit similar qualities seems to not be the case

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Animal_consciousness
    "Near human-like levels of consciousness" have been observed in the African gray parrot"

    And you've another presumption running through that argument, that the likes of emotion, love & consciousness require specifically the structures which seem to be involved in our own species. But that information does not prove that trees have no consciousness. That planets don't love. Certainly it does not prove that dogs don't love.
  • Timbales

    Posts: 13993

    Jun 12, 2013 1:33 AM GMT
    What is love?








    Baby, don't hurt me, don't hurt me no more.
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    Jun 12, 2013 1:39 AM GMT
    Nature's way of giving a reason to be living

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    Jun 12, 2013 1:44 AM GMT
    I think they do.

    I remember watching a video about a dog who was crying over his lost owner.

    And it's been proven that some dogs have outlived their life span to be with their owners.

    Maybe they themselves don't understand it, but I think love is a very simple and primal thing that could happen to anyone/thing
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    Jun 12, 2013 1:47 AM GMT
    lady-and-the-tramp.jpg
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    Jun 12, 2013 1:47 AM GMT
    The answer is yes. Ask the dog of the US soldier who traveled several countries to find his master.

    http://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=4279495&page=1#.UbfTMJxqu8E
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    Jun 12, 2013 1:50 AM GMT
    Dogs are pack animals and so have an inbred need to bond with those they perceive as members of their pack.
    You are their pack leader, so the urge to bond with you is particularly strong.
    But anyone who loves a dog can sense something greater than pack instinct at work. It may not be "love" in the full human sense, but whatever it is, it's pure joy to have.
  • ThatSwimmerGu...

    Posts: 3755

    Jun 12, 2013 1:56 AM GMT
    My dog loves me.
    fiLcNw6.jpg
  • HottJoe

    Posts: 21366

    Jun 12, 2013 2:05 AM GMT
    Dan_xD saidA dog's brain is not as developed as our brain is (obviously), and are therefore incapable of complex emotions such as love.

    If humans don't have wings (or any other method that allows for flight), are humans able to fly? No.

    If dogs lack the developed sections of the brain which we have that is responsible for complex emotions (ie., the developed hypothalamus, the hippocampus, and the amygdala), can dogs exhibit complex emotions? The simple answer is NO.

    What people generally think of as affection or love from your dog is simply a response to you providing for them, or acting as the alpha figure.



    Love isn't necessarily a complex emotion. Humans have complicated relationships, but love itself is simple. A dog can love to run and play as much as much a human can. Their excitement is palpable. They seem to love you more than humans sometimes, and they mourn you when you die.

    Our intellectual capabilities don't always amount to love. Plenty of extremely intelligent humans are incapable of love. The only thing you can prove is that humans have bigger brains and are smarter. What's that got to do with love?

    Proving love is real is like trying to prove a soul is real. If you can't prove it's real, how can you say dogs don't have it?
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    Jun 12, 2013 2:08 AM GMT
    I know my dog loves me. I lay down on the floor and he will lick my face, ears and hair till I tell him to stop. It helps when I'm feeling down.
  • urhereurthere

    Posts: 185

    Jun 12, 2013 2:08 AM GMT
    YES!!!!