As if we need science to confirm the obvious things in life: exercise is good for you, smoking is bad for you, and your dog Fido loves you. Come on, folks, we know this stuff already.
What is interesting news is that scientists have figured out a way to actually prove our pooches’ affection for us. Researchers at Emory University, led by neuroscientist Gregory Berns, used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine to scan the brains of about 90 dogs. Their goal was to find out what exactly was running through these pups’ noggins.
First, the researchers discovered that the canine’s prefrontal lobe activity was similar to ours, meaning they use the same part of the brains for problem-solving as humans do. Then, Berns brought in the treats. He gave the pups hot dogs and praise at different times and compared the dogs’ neurological responses using more MRI scans.
The researchers found that the dogs responded to the food treat and to the “good boy” treat equally. They loved both. Some, about 20% to be exact, actually responded more favorably to the praise than they did the hot dog, leading Bern to conclude that some dogs actually love their humans more than they love food.
While this finding is a big deal for understanding just how much our pet pooches love us, we don’t really need science to confirm this fact. Just look into your sweet puppy’s eyes, maybe give a scratch behind the ear, and you can feel the love. And those sweet kisses? They’re not just for treats; they’re from our bond with our canine friends. At least that’s what I tell myself as I’m reaching for the Milk Bones.