Dogs emotional level = Toddler’s emotional level?
Most researchers have come to the conclusion that the range of emotions in a dog equals that of a human who is about 2.5 years old.
As infants we start off with one of our first emotions, called excitement. Within the first few weeks of our life excitement branches off into more detailed emotional states. These are contentment and distress.
A few months in, we are able to feel anger, disgust and fear.
By the age of 6 months infants can feel joy, shyness and suspicion.
The big break through, called Love, is something a ten months old human child can feel.
So therefore we may conclude that dogs are very much able to feel Love, the way we do.
If you are a parent to a furry child, it most likely is to you – whether science backs it up or not – that your dog loves you just as much as you do.
But if you are not convinced yet, there is a bit more scientific evidence involved in that as well – introducing: Oxytocin.
The “Lover’s Hormone” Oxytocin
Oxytocin is a hormone that plays a role in maternal bonding, trust and altruism. So when you look into the eyes of your child or another loved one, your oxytocin level will go up. It’s science.
Let’s transfer that correlation to our loyal companions – dogs.
Takefumi Kikusui at the Asabu University’s School of Veterinary Medicine in Sagamihara in Japan studied this fact. She invited 30 people to bring their dogs into the lab and compared the level of oxytocin in the dogs system before the pair played and cuddled with each other and after. Turns out, that the duo that had spent most time gazing into each other eyes, both male and female dogs, experienced a 130% increase in oxytocin level and the respective owners showed a 300% increasing in said hormone level.
This goes to show, like with any human relationship, the more time and care you put into the relationship with your dog, the more you will love each other.
Science or not – dog parents connected to their companion know that their fur babies are loving them specifically, because of their special relationship.
This goes further than you and the relationship with your own dog.
We see the dogs of our clients usually 5 days per week, spending valuable one-on-one time with them. It’s clear that bonding takes place. Also oxytocin production is happening in both, our walkers and our fur charges. Which most likely explains, why we love what we do. And on the flip side also explains, why we are sad when a dog moves away.