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, which, within the first few weeks of our life, branches off into more detailed emotional states of 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, can be felt by ten months of age in a human child.
So therefore we may conclude that dogs are very much able to feel Love, the way we do.
Now, if you are a parent to a furry child, that’s obvious to you, whether science backs it up or not – no one needs to tell you, 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
Not going into detailed science: 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. This was researched and proven.
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.
That being said, i believe, just 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. And of course, just like some humans are simply not able to love others as much as some others can, the same might be true with dogs.
Science or not – dog parents connected to their companion know that their fur babies are loving them specifically, because of their special relationship.