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#1 User is offline   Ben Cranklin 

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Posted 20 February 2020 - 01:06 PM

What makes dogs so special? Science says love
February 20, 2020
by Issam Ahmed
phys.org


The idea that animals can experience love was once anathema to the psychologists who studied them, seen as a case of putting sentimentality before scientific rigor. But a new book argues that, when it comes to dogs, the word is necessary to understanding what has made the relationship between humans and our best friends one of the most significant interspecies partnerships in history. Clive Wynne, founder the Canine Science Collaboratory at Arizona State University, makes the case in "Dog is Love: Why and How Your Dog Loves You."

The animal psychologist, 59, began studying dogs in the early 2000s, and, like his peers, believed that to ascribe complex emotions to them was to commit the sin of anthropomorphism—until he was swayed by a body evidence that was growing too big to ignore.

"I think there comes a point when it's worth being skeptical of your skepticism," the Englishman said in an interview with AFP.

Canine science has enjoyed a resurgence in the past two decades, much of it extolling dogs' smarts. Titles like "The Genius of Dogs" by Brian Hare have advanced the idea that dogs have an innate and exceptional intelligence.

Wynne, however plays spoilsport, arguing that Fido is just not that brilliant.

Pigeons can identify different kinds of objects in 2D images; dolphins have shown they understand grammar; honeybees signal the location of food sources to each other through dance; all feats that no dogs have ever been known to accomplish. Even wolves, dogs' ancestor species known for their ferocity and lack of interest in people, have shown the ability to follow human cues—including, in a recent Swedish study, by playing fetch.

Wynne proposes a paradigm shift, synthesizing cross-disciplinary research to posit that it is dogs' "hypersociability" or "extreme gregariousness" that sets them apart.

Williams syndrome gene


One of the most striking advances comes from studies regarding oxytocin, a brain chemical that cements emotional bonds between people, but which is, according to new evidence, also responsible for interspecies relationships between dogs and humans. Recent research led by Takefumi Kikusui at Japan's Azabu University has shown that levels of the chemical spike when humans and their dogs gaze into each others' eyes, mirroring an effect observed between mothers and babies.

In genetics, UCLA geneticist Bridgett vonHoldt made a surprising discovery in 2009: Dogs have a mutation in the gene responsible for Williams syndrome in humans—a condition characterized by intellectual limitations and exceptional gregariousness.

"The essential thing about dogs, as for people with Williams syndrome, is a desire to form close connections, to have warm personal relationships—to love and be loved," writes Wynne.

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#2 User is offline   Noclevermoniker 

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Posted 20 February 2020 - 01:20 PM

Any dog owner knows this instinctively. Additionally, dogs instinctively recognize "dog people" vs "not dog people".
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#3 User is offline   oki 

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Posted 20 February 2020 - 04:55 PM

What makes dogs so special?

EVERYTHING!
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#4 User is offline   SARGE 

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Posted 20 February 2020 - 04:57 PM

View Postoki, on 20 February 2020 - 04:55 PM, said:

What makes dogs so special?

EVERYTHING!


If you have to ask, you'll never know.
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#5 User is offline   ASE 

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Posted 20 February 2020 - 07:13 PM

What if a person likes both dogs and cats?
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#6 User is offline   Holland25 

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Posted 20 February 2020 - 10:15 PM

I am going to say something that will make me very unpopular. I grew up with dogs. I hate dogs and cats. I think they are disgusting animals and no way would I be cleaning up after them. Didn't Seinfeld say that if aliens saw one species following another and cleaning up it's waste, be the inferior being? I think what made me hate them is the hysteria that their rabid owns worship them. Sorry dogs can't love. Love is a very complex emotion that even many humans can't achieve. They may be affectionate but no way they can love.

My mother owns a pit-bull. It is the nicest dog she even owned but I hate it. I don't know if it is this particular breed but they are always up your ass. They are constantly in the way. I have never met an animal that is so socially inept. It never moves out of your way. The breed aught to be called, walk around because this dog expects you to move and walk around it. If you like dogs and cats that's cool for you.

I was walking through a park and this dog is angrily charging at me and my wife. I shouted to the owner that if that dogs attacks us, after I kill your dog I'm coming for you. You see dog owners firmly believe their dogs are equal to humans so why would you put them on a leach? I was a visiting nurse. We had a rule that dogs could not be in the home during the nursing visit. No one complied with that. If I hear another damn dog owner trying to assure me the dog won't bite I am going to have a seizure. The funny thing is dogs like me. Hey if you like dogs and cats that's cool. It just isn't for me. If your going to hate me do it for another reason-lol. Myu nieces and nephews want the dog to lick them. Mind you after they spend the last half hour licking their genitals or anus.

This post has been edited by Holland25: 20 February 2020 - 10:16 PM

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#7 User is offline   Holland25 

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Posted 20 February 2020 - 10:17 PM

I am going to say something that will make me very unpopular. I grew up with dogs. I hate dogs and cats. I think they are disgusting animals and no way would I be cleaning up after them. Didn't Seinfeld say that if aliens saw one species following another and cleaning up it's waste, be the inferior being? I think what made me hate them is the hysteria that their rabid owns worship them. Sorry dogs can't love. Love is a very complex emotion that even many humans can't achieve. They may be affectionate but no way they can love.

My mother owns a pit-bull. It is the nicest dog she even owned but I hate it. I don't know if it is this particular breed but they are always up your ass. They are constantly in the way. I have never met an animal that is so socially inept. It never moves out of your way. The breed aught to be called, walk around because this dog expects you to move and walk around it. If you like dogs and cats that's cool for you.

I was walking through a park and this dog is angrily charging at me and my wife. I shouted to the owner that if that dogs attacks us, after I kill your dog I'm coming for you. You see dog owners firmly believe their dogs are equal to humans so why would you put them on a leach? I was a visiting nurse. We had a rule that dogs could not be in the home during the nursing visit. No one complied with that. If I hear another damn dog owner trying to assure me the dog won't bite I am going to have a seizure. The funny thing is dogs like me. Hey if you like dogs and cats that's cool. It just isn't for me. If your going to hate me do it for another reason-lol.
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#8 User is offline   USNRETWIFE 

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Posted 20 February 2020 - 10:47 PM

I like animals more than most people. And yes, they do love. Let the quacks believe what they want, I know my pets and I feel sorry for those who don't feel an animal's love.
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#9 User is offline   gravelrash 

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Posted 20 February 2020 - 10:51 PM

Cats. That is all.
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#10 User is offline   Tikk 

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Posted 20 February 2020 - 11:06 PM

 Holland25, on 20 February 2020 - 10:17 PM, said:

I am going to say something that will make me very unpopular. I grew up with dogs. I hate dogs and cats. I think they are disgusting animals and no way would I be cleaning up after them. Didn't Seinfeld say that if aliens saw one species following another and cleaning up it's waste, be the inferior being? I think what made me hate them is the hysteria that their rabid owns worship them. Sorry dogs can't love. Love is a very complex emotion that even many humans can't achieve. They may be affectionate but no way they can love.

My mother owns a pit-bull. It is the nicest dog she even owned but I hate it. I don't know if it is this particular breed but they are always up your ass. They are constantly in the way. I have never met an animal that is so socially inept. It never moves out of your way. The breed aught to be called, walk around because this dog expects you to move and walk around it. If you like dogs and cats that's cool for you.

I was walking through a park and this dog is angrily charging at me and my wife. I shouted to the owner that if that dogs attacks us, after I kill your dog I'm coming for you. You see dog owners firmly believe their dogs are equal to humans so why would you put them on a leach? I was a visiting nurse. We had a rule that dogs could not be in the home during the nursing visit. No one complied with that. If I hear another damn dog owner trying to assure me the dog won't bite I am going to have a seizure. The funny thing is dogs like me. Hey if you like dogs and cats that's cool. It just isn't for me. If your going to hate me do it for another reason-lol.


I don't hate you. I think you're wrong completely wrong based upon bad personal experiences. But I don't hate you.

And the 'social ineptness' and other things are behaviors that you just don't understand. Don't blame the dog for trying to let you know that you're in what it considers your mother's territory (and by extension it's territory). You are the guest. They live there. So I ask you, do you still consider the dog socially inept? And for the record I don't like pit bulls as a breed, because they don't show most emotions very well.

And if you were a visiting nurse. If the policy was the dog shouldn't be there. Then yes, the dog shouldn't be there.

ETA: But look on the bright side. Your mother's pit bull "loves" her so much that it will put itself between her any harm without hesitation. Even if that meant that pit bull had to die a painful death. Even if you don't call it "love", it's something.

This post has been edited by Tikk: 20 February 2020 - 11:28 PM

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#11 User is offline   LeansToTheRight 

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Posted 21 February 2020 - 01:11 AM

I happen to be one who knows that animals - especially dogs - show love. It’s the kind of love that one has for a family member or close friend. That is love. No, it’s not amorous love. (There are some sickos out there that think that way, but that’s wrong and off topic). Pets do have love for their human “family”.

Another poster mentioned that dogs can tell people who aren’t “dog people”. This is true. Here’s a cute little story: many years ago, my ex-wife and I were talking about people in general and how some people gave off a pleasant vibe and others just didn’t. And we noted that dogs and kids can tell. Her grandmother came over a short time after having that conversation, and the first thing she says when my ex-wife’s dog at that time wouldn’t come over to her - “I don’t know what it is, but dogs and kids just don’t like me”. We busted up laughing so hard because of our prior conversation. And her grandmother was a very “negative energy” person.

This post has been edited by LeansToTheRight: 21 February 2020 - 01:13 AM

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#12 User is offline   Holland25 

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Posted 21 February 2020 - 07:16 AM

Well, I never thought I would convince anyone just my experience. I think the happiness a pet, if I can use that word, gives an owner is real. I am sure we have different understanding of what love is. Affection is not the same as love. Love is a very sophisticated emotion that I believe an animal can not do. But I know how important is is for pet owners to believe their pet loves them. I know people say, they like animals more than people. I get it but really we are talking about apples to oranges. I might as well say I like my hamster more than people. Now that I think of it, I have seen dogs in love growing up: Huckleberry Hound, Dino, Astro, even Scooby-doo I think loved that poodle puppet on one episode? I concede.
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#13 User is offline   oki 

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Posted 21 February 2020 - 11:22 AM

 SARGE, on 20 February 2020 - 04:57 PM, said:

If you have to ask, you'll never know.



Exactly.
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#14 User is offline   oki 

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Posted 21 February 2020 - 11:33 AM

 Holland25, on 21 February 2020 - 07:16 AM, said:

Well, I never thought I would convince anyone just my experience. I think the happiness a pet, if I can use that word, gives an owner is real. I am sure we have different understanding of what love is. Affection is not the same as love. Love is a very sophisticated emotion that I believe an animal can not do. But I know how important is is for pet owners to believe their pet loves them. I know people say, they like animals more than people. I get it but really we are talking about apples to oranges. I might as well say I like my hamster more than people. Now that I think of it, I have seen dogs in love growing up: Huckleberry Hound, Dino, Astro, even Scooby-doo I think loved that poodle puppet on one episode? I concede.


No worries. I have had Dogs, Cats, Guinea Pigs, even some fish. Dogs are a different creature, are they all sweat and loving, no. Most are, Cats, have had or seen ones on both ends of the extreme and in the middle. Fish, they are for looking at, but did have one very large Goldfish that had no issue with being petted(I kid you not) could reach your hand and stroke it's sides and it didn't mind one bit. Guinea Pigs? Sweet little guys extremely friendly, but I think they see people as a food source and that's why they are affectionate. To be honest though much of what you describe as why you don't like pooches is behavioral and or physical. The standing in the way and to friendly, all about training. The licking, that can very much be physical and things lacking in diet.
Have never had an issue with any of that with my little guy. Dogs become what we make them to be. They key in on a lot of things and will learn behaviors from this. IE fuzzball is most attached to the wife, AND, she is not into P.D.A. at all. So, my little guy is not overly affectionate. He also doesn't stand in the way, or get under your feet(at 5 pounds that is very important to his well being).
Not a yapper, and is actually very friendly. Plus licking and 'eating found gold' in the yard has never been an issue. He gets a high quality food, that's why.

As far as love and emotions go. No question they have them, just at a much simpler less complicated level than us. There have been numerous times where he shows an emotional response to something, and it is the same response no matter how is spoken to. Calm voice, excited voice, etc. And, even times when there is no response no matter the tone of voice. Did you make a mess? If he did it he is trying to hide no matter tone of voice. IF he did nothing he just ignores you no matter tone of voice. To bad your not in the Green Bay area, I'd happily show you and I think you'd like the little guy.
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#15 User is offline   oki 

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Posted 21 February 2020 - 11:39 AM

 LeansToTheRight, on 21 February 2020 - 01:11 AM, said:

I happen to be one who knows that animals - especially dogs - show love. It’s the kind of love that one has for a family member or close friend. That is love. No, it’s not amorous love. (There are some sickos out there that think that way, but that’s wrong and off topic). Pets do have love for their human “family”.

Another poster mentioned that dogs can tell people who aren’t “dog people”. This is true. Here’s a cute little story: many years ago, my ex-wife and I were talking about people in general and how some people gave off a pleasant vibe and others just didn’t. And we noted that dogs and kids can tell. Her grandmother came over a short time after having that conversation, and the first thing she says when my ex-wife’s dog at that time wouldn’t come over to her - “I don’t know what it is, but dogs and kids just don’t like me”. We busted up laughing so hard because of our prior conversation. And her grandmother was a very “negative energy” person.


I have seen this first hand a number of times. Maybe that negative energy and a persons emotions cause a person to have a negative sent that pooches pick up on. In a way similar to how it is know believed that a persons scent changes in a lead up to a seizure, or other medical issues and Dogs can pick this up and alert. None the less, growing up we had a Shepherd mix who was like that.
If he liked you he was your best buddy, if he didn't like you he'd just as quick try to rip your throat out. He had %100 accuracy and always knew that if someone came in and he like them they where on the up and up. Hell, when one of my brothers joined the Army the recruiter stopped by and our pooch absolutely loved him. My brother had no issues in the field he chose or complaints about his service.
Insurance agent that my parents had for years same thing, and that is a profession which has many bad actors. The man ALWAYS did right by my parents.
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#16 User is offline   kestrel 

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Posted 21 February 2020 - 12:20 PM

 SARGE, on 20 February 2020 - 04:57 PM, said:


If you have to ask, you'll never know.

Military working Dog Handler '70-'74...The Dog in My Avatar is a stunt double for Blitz 0975 Who would have given his life for me no questions. Nuff said.
Kestrel...

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#17 User is offline   BootsieBets 

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Posted 21 February 2020 - 01:56 PM

Well, of course I think there is a difference between “dog love” and the love humans feel for our family or lovers. But I have seen great affection from dogs, and other animals, that I believe has something to do with an evolutionary change because they have been with, and been taken care of, humans for so long. I have had dogs my whole life and know that they have distinct personalities. And yes, they do know dog people and non-dog people. When a dog has bonded with a human, they have an innate sense of your moods and feelings. I have had migraines my whole life and two of the dogs I have had were particularly in tune to when I was having one. They were very different with me at those times. All my dogs knew when I had headaches and would “take care” of me, but these two were special, they would have made good service dogs, I think.

And let me say this, I am always very respectful of other people when I have my dog. Just as I would with a child, I don not think that everyone loves my dog as much as I do. Don’t let them run around, bark, run up to people they don’t know and sniff at them, etc. Nor do I let my dogs do that. :whistling: Anyway, I always make sure my dogs are polite and under my control.
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#18 User is offline   gravelrash 

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Posted 21 February 2020 - 03:10 PM

https://i.pinimg.com/736x/04/e7/ed/04e7ed72d159ee15ff2b167f68f1dbc1--gary-larson-cartoons-mousepad.jpg
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#19 User is offline   Severian 

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Posted 21 February 2020 - 03:40 PM

It's amazing what tens of thousands of years of selective breeding can accomplish. We have here an animal that likes us more than it likes it's own kind. They've studied levels of oxytocin in dogs and humans, and dogs levels spike when they see us, just as when we see a loved one. So, there's a kind of love there. I saw one study where dogs in another room got upset when they heard their owners being upset and contrary to what you'd think the dogs that didn't come running were not uncaring of their people. No, they got so upset they couldn't figure out how to open the door and come to their person's aid.

Badly trained, abused dogs can be mean and dangerous, and I have little to no tolerance for such a beast. Like the majority of pooches though, but can't quite grok the attraction for cats. If I want abuse on a regular basis I just need to call my ex wife.
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#20 User is offline   Holland25 

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Posted 24 February 2020 - 08:31 AM

View PostBootsieBets, on 21 February 2020 - 01:56 PM, said:

Well, of course I think there is a difference between “dog love” and the love humans feel for our family or lovers. But I have seen great affection from dogs, and other animals, that I believe has something to do with an evolutionary change because they have been with, and been taken care of, humans for so long. I have had dogs my whole life and know that they have distinct personalities. And yes, they do know dog people and non-dog people. When a dog has bonded with a human, they have an innate sense of your moods and feelings. I have had migraines my whole life and two of the dogs I have had were particularly in tune to when I was having one. They were very different with me at those times. All my dogs knew when I had headaches and would “take care” of me, but these two were special, they would have made good service dogs, I think.

And let me say this, I am always very respectful of other people when I have my dog. Just as I would with a child, I don not think that everyone loves my dog as much as I do. Don’t let them run around, bark, run up to people they don’t know and sniff at them, etc. Nor do I let my dogs do that. :whistling: Anyway, I always make sure my dogs are polite and under my control.


That all sounds sensible to me. I don't think it was the dogs that turned me off to them but their owners. My mother will go on and on about her dog and I asked her why don't you talk about your grandchildren like that. One of the things that bothered my wife and I was my children were very allergic to animals. My kids eyes would be terrible and itching. Wherever the dog licked instantly became a raised welt. My mother suggested that I should give my children Benadryl before coming over. So me giving my children drugs is preferable to putting the dog downstairs for a half hour? It is a lot of this kind of stuff that changed me. What about people who have bumper stickers that read; I love my Grand dogs? Do you think it is weird if they have grandchildren to have the bumper sticker I just mentioned instead of I love my grandchildren? Don't even get me started with the sticker that reads: Who Rescued Who? To each his own.
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