If you give your dog a treat, you may see them wag their tail and run around in excitement. Eyes focused, ears perked, mouth drooling, they will do absolutely any trick for a nibble. Or, if your dog isn't as well-behaved, they may start swiping scraps off your plate and taking food out of the trash. You see the joy in their eyes, the trembling in their paws, and you may start to wonder: why is my dog so obsessed with food? Does my dog love food more than they love me?
Do dogs have feelings?
Yes, dogs have feelings. To some, it may be hard to believe, but although dogs may not necessarily have the corresponding language to label their feelings, this does not mean they don't have them at all. According to studies at Emory University by neuroscientist Gregory Berns, eliciting positive emotions in dogs demonstrated the same corresponding parts of the brain to humans on MRI imaging. In other words, when engaging in a positive experience, dog test subjects lit up on imaging in the same way that a human brain does.
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Does my dog love me?
Yes, most likely, your dog loves you. Recent research supports the idea that dogs can feel love. In fact, a dog's desire to form close connections and personal relationships are what sets them apart from other animals. So, even if your dog is more standoff-ish, this doesn't necessarily mean they don't like or love you. A dog's capacity for love is high: you may just need time to get to know each other!
How do dogs show their love?
Dogs show their love through body language and the choices they make when interacting with you through their sight, sound, and smell. If your dog makes relaxed eye contact with you and reacts happily to the sound of your voice with a jump and some tail-wagging, good news: your dog probably loves you. If your dog doesn't interact with you in these ways yet, don't fret. Dogs need time to socialize and adjust: they can show their love in other ways, too.
Does my dog love food more than he loves me?
Not necessarily. A dog's capability for relationship building and affection is one of their defining qualities. In fact, studies show that dogs do not necessarily prefer food over the affection of their owners. Magnetic Resonance Imaging also demonstrates that a dog's brain responds as much to praise as it does to food. In terms of training, your dog may or may not be more inclined to a treat, however, this does not mean that they love you any more or less than their snacks.
How can I keep my dog happy?
It is important to make sure your dog is happy and healthy. According to the American Kennel Club, one of the best ways is to keep your dog mentally stimulated. You can do this by teaching your dog some new tricks, going outside for a walk or hike, playing fetch, or even a game of hide and seek! Another key to canine happiness is making sure your dog is well-groomed and kept on a consistent schedule for potty breaks, walks, mealtimes, and bedtime.
Dogs love food. They also love their humans. In fact, a canine's ability to form meaningful and loving relationships with human beings is truly special. So don't doubt your dog's love for you. Can you really blame your dog for loving chicken? Instead, return your dog's love by keeping your best friend happy and healthy.