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My dogs love me unconditionally, more than words can ever say, not just on Valentine’s Day, but every day of the year. And your dog may also love you more than any human ever will. But is it nature vs. nurture?
Certainly, dogs are very social animals by nature, with an innate need for an emotional connection. But the latest science points to nurture as the root of their affection for you, according to an article in The New York Times.
“Raise a dog with sheep and it will love sheep. Raise a dog with goats and it will love goats. Raise a dog with people … you know the rest,” The New York Times article states.
I couldn’t agree with this more. My Greyhound-mix Duke had an extraordinary friendship bond with a sheep named Buster that lived in our front field in England. We would often find them snuggling noses and sitting side-by-side, separated only by the fence.The same holds true with people. An experiment by Clive Wynne, a psychologist at Arizona State University who specializes in dog behavior and is the author of “Dog Is Love: Why and How Your Dog Loves You,” found puppies that spend 90 minutes a day, for one week, with a human before they are 14 weeks old become socialized and comfortable with humans, whereas those that aren’t don’t make that bond become wary and distant from people, the article states.
Furthermore, dog brain research by Gregory Berns, a neuroeconomist at Emory University, found that the part of dogs’ brains that light up when they hear their owners’ voices is the same part of the human brain that lights up when we are fond of someone or something, the article states.
Dogs have “an abnormal willingness to form strong emotional bonds with almost anything that crosses their path,” Dr. Wynne told The New York Times. “And they maintain this throughout life. Above and beyond that they have a willingness and an interest to interact with strangers.”
Treat your dog well, and you have loyal companion whose love remains true forever more.
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