We all grew up watching the Disney movie Lady and the Tramp and most of us still remember the iconic scene where Lady and the Tramp stare into each other’s eyes and share a plate of spaghetti.
But, I’m sure many of you think that doggy romance just exists in cartoons. Well, that’s not true at all! Let’s find out!
Do Dogs Have Feelings?
For many, love encompasses a range of strong and positive emotions and mental states. It’s an unconditional feeling that keeps you committed and bonded to a person. However, there is no scientific explanation for this unconditional feeling. Over the years, studies have found that the concept and the feeling of love have been hardwired into our brains by millions of years of evolution. The happy feeling of being in love is actually stimulated by chemicals found in the brain. The feeling of falling head over heels for someone doesn’t occur in the heart, but rather in the brain when certain hormones are released, resulting in a mix of feelings.
The limbic system, for instance, is that part of the human brain that controls emotions and is thus considered as the main control center of love. Studies have found that the part of the brain that controls dogs’ emotions is very similar to the limbic system. This means that, like human beings, dogs can also experience the basic emotions like joy, fear, anger, anxiety, grief, aggression, depression and, of course, love. Since they have corresponding parts of their brains to humans, dogs can feel and experience love, but based on Dr. Stanley Coren’s work, dogs cannot undergo complex feelings like pride, guilt and shame.
In an article, the Professor of Psychology at the University of British Columbia noted that, like human beings, dogs have hormones and can thus experience the same chemical changes that we do during emotional states.
On the net, for example, you will find several pictures and videos of dogs trading smooches. Canines will lick and groom each other in displays of affection and love. It’s also proof that these dogs know and trusts each other.
When people kiss, they show affection to the people they love. Similarly, when two dogs share a strong bond and want to express their affection, they would lick each other’s faces.
Dogs’ Understanding and Expression of Love
Body language and facial expressions are two of the most important non-verbal aspects of human communication. In fact, facial expressions were initially the primary means of communicating information between humans. Facial expressions, however, can not only communicate thoughts and ideas but also display personal feelings and indicate one’s emotions.
Some people feel the need to express and demonstrate their love through words, gifts, acts of service, quality time or physical touch. However, I’m sure you’ve heard that you can tell if someone loves you just by looking into their eyes.
There is a combination of facial expressions that may hint at love and this is called the “look of love.” A 1996 report published by Ernest Haggard and Kenneth Isaacs revealed how micro-facial expressions could be linked with emotions like anger, happiness, fear, surprise, contempt and love. A subtle coy smile, pushed-up cheeks and constant eye contact are signs that someone’s attracted to you. However, dogs will not express their romantic feelings in the way humans do with their facial expressions.
Dogs do produce facial movements –sometimes even more than humans –like raising their eyebrows, smiling, staring, and maintaining or breaking eye contact. However, studies have often considered these facial expressions as involuntary and inflexible displays of emotional states rather than active and voluntary attempts to express and communicate their emotions.
In addition, things that might symbolize love for humans might not mean the same for dogs. For instance, people might find roses, sunsets and rain to be romantic, but on the other hand, dogs would be completely uninterested in these things.
Signs Your Dog Is in Love With Another Dog:
- Your dog is always excited when it meets the other dog
- Your dog makes meaningful contact with the other dog