A Scientific Explanation: Why Dogs Truly Are Our Best Friends

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Deborah Custance and Jennifer Mayer, co-authors now published in the Journal of Animal Cognition, have created experimental situations concluding that canines are more in tune to human emotions than previously thought.

The study included 18 family pets of all breeds and ages. Each dog was placed in a room with a human, in some situations their owner and other situations strangers. Once together, each person created a different emotional state whether it was talking, pretending to cry, humming strangely, etc.

Once distressed, the “majority of the dogs comforted the person, owner or not, when that individual was pretending to cry. The dogs acted submissive as they nuzzled and licked the person, the canine version of ‘there there’,” Custance confirmed.

Custance adds that “those dogs that responded sensitively to our emotional cues may have been the individuals that we would be more likely to keep as pets.”

Due to continuously rewarding our pets over the years after comforting us in times of need, we have created an empathetic bond between our furry family members and ourselves.

6 thoughts on “A Scientific Explanation: Why Dogs Truly Are Our Best Friends”

  1. Canines don’t point or critisize what others consider a weakness in you. They genuinly appreciate all that you do, or don’t do. They aren’t greedy or money hungry, and they don’t care what your house or furniture looks like. They don’t critisize if your to sensitive, have mental or physical disabilities. They never call you bad names or point out how imperfect you are.

    You can break dishes, burn dinner spill your drink, not make a bed. Watch t.v all day they will be right there. They are the family true through and through. My pet family choose to show they care. They show it-not say it. They care about how you feel and are the first ones to to reach out and care how you feel. The wag of a tail, a pant, standing by the door needing to go potty-and a quick play but return right back to you. They don’t make you feel unloved, sad, depressed. The help your fear because they alert you and when they sleep by your side they make you feel calm, steel your pillow, snore, whatever it takes so you know you are never alone.

  2. You are so right, Terri. Yerars ago I waS in high school. It was bitterly cold and the streets were icy. I had gone to school not knowing it has closed for the day. As I waited for the public bus a strange dog came up to me and tried to keep me warm. He stayed there until the bus came which was a long time since the weather was bad. He comforeted me. I already knew I loved dogs way before than, but after that incident I vowed to always have a dog in my house, and I have. No truer companion is the dog. <3

  3. My sister was in the middle of a messy divorce, and came over to my house distraught one day. My Zeus, who is normally all about me (although friendly), went over to her, and climbed into her lap. When she started petting him, he got up and gave her one of his famous (usually, again, only for me) hugs, and just let her hold him until she quit crying. She had a new insight into the love of dogs, and I had a new appreciation for my sweet boy.

  4. I was ready to read about “Scientific” evidence why dog and humans have the relationships they do, but all I got was fluff. If you are going to post an article about “scientific explanations”, the evidence needs to be present in the article, not just stating a study was done, a couple of quotes from the researcher and some erroneous conclusion from the article’s author. Unfortunately, articles like this can actually detract from the support of this kind of research that could benefit both human and canine species and contributes to the sometimes pervasive negative attitude towards this amazing relationship, giving fodder to the naysayers that this relationship is unimportant and warrants no further study.

    I posted this comment earlier in the feed. Why does it not appear now??

    • Anonymouse, in blog posts such as this the journalist did the right thing by stating the study’s authors’ names and identifying by name the scientific journal which published the study results (this is a peer-reviewed journal, by the way, adding credence to the articles they choose to publish). For the average blog post-er to read, analyze and summarize a scientific study published in a peer-reviewed journal is not only virtually impossible – just try being a science writer for a day! – but not really appropriate for the brief overview style of Life With Dogs which alerts us to these important scientific advances and leaves it to us to check into further. Presumably you are well educated enough to go Google the journal and read the full published article online; failing that (or if only available to paid subscribers) you should try contacting the writers directly and ask for a synopsis or summary of the research – they may even provide data if you ask pretty enough and don’t snark around like you did in your post here.


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