General Question

colin's avatar

Do dogs really love people, or do they just act in ways that get them food and shelter?

Asked by colin (574points) November 11th, 2006
Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

10 Answers

stephan's avatar
Implicit in your question is the rather difficult-to-define notion of love. If you are willing to accept it as a rather universal cocktail of emotions experienced by many, if not all, mammals then you are in luck. Your dog's medial forebrain bundle does probably rocket neural impulses and release dopamine upon the sight of you, the feeder, the walker, the shit-collector. For a more satisfying answer I'd suggest looking into studies of seeing eye dogs and especially whether they have acted in ways humans would judge 'altruistic.'
oliverburke's avatar
Dogs can love, if love be judged by "willingness to play with" - "showing fondness for" "will go into house and save from this or that". Some of that may be duty, and even with humans it's hard to tell what wd be love and duty (re: parents).
maggiesmom1's avatar
Yes, I do think they "love", but I think it's more that a dog views its owner as the "alpha dog" in its pack & treats him/her in that manner. They enjoy the company of that "alpha dog" and defer to him/her in their relationship. But really, all one has to do is see a dog's behavior upon the return of an owner to whom it has developed a relationship. I think I would definitely call that "love".
b's avatar
As my ecology teacher one said: "Dogs are fantastic social parasites."
redsublet's avatar
My sister's dog loves me. When I visit, sometimes he's excited to be walked, and sometimes he's just excited I'm there. He likes to sit near where people are. That's just in his nature.
hossman's avatar
Several studies have been done on the differences between dogs and wolves, which have concluded wolves are mentally adult canines, which may make them unsuitable as pets, as they will test the "alpha male" status of their humans by being aggressive or disobedient. Dogs, however, over the years have been bred to be developmentally frozen in a state of mental adolescence, where they pass beyond the respect a wolf may give a human (and maybe a little love) to an unending state of "crush" and adoration. Which is OK with me.
burlapmellish's avatar
If you have to ask, you've never owned a dog. They have souls too.
Response moderated
fred's avatar

I think by ANY definition of love, they love people, and we love them too. I know, my dog talks to me and tells me he loves me.

suse's avatar

Hve had alot to do with assistance dogs over the years – their devotion and care is awesome. It is a kind of love, most definately, very pure.

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