Does Your Dog Actually Love You?

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Some depressing new research suggests that your dog might not really be obsessed with you. Well, it might be, but not because of a special human-dog bond. It turns out that dogs love basically every species they come into contact with, be it a sheep, a duck, or a dolphin.

While I refuse to believe that the human-dog connection is anything less than sacred, a dog’s ability to fall for basically every living thing is not necessarily a bad thing, says Clive Wynne, a dog behavior specialist who has been researching dog emotions for decades. He explained to the New York Times that dogs’ “ abnormal willingness to form strong emotional bonds with almost anything that crosses their path” has helped them thrive relative to other members of the animal kingdom (they outnumber their canine cousins, meany wolves, 3,000 to 1.)

And while dogs may be better at following human directions than other animals, and are nicer to us too, this is mostly thanks to thousands of years of domestication, Wynne says. He even found genes in dogs that are associated with “indiscriminate friendliness” in humans, suggesting that humans have bred so many good dogs that the dog genome actually changed.

Outside of that light bit of eugenics, dogs will be mostly nice to anything — humans just have a little bit of an evolutionary advantage. And while that may be the case, it doesn’t make love from these very good boys any less real.

Does Your Dog Actually Love You?