Does your dog see you as a can opener ?

dog loving looking at its can openerA wagging tail and a loving stare….. is dog talk. But what is the thinking behind the dog discourse ? Who exactly is your mutt talking to ?

Is it….

  • A friend
  • The leader of the pack
  • A can opener

In the case of Jozie, our psychotic dalmation – the answer is easy. Jozie sees the humans in her life, as her personal chef. She genuinely believes that every human action is designed to provide her with delicious food. And the stuff that comes out of the packet, ironically enough labelled DOG FOOD, is for ………. the birds. That said, she doesn’t necessarily always like to share it with them.

Looking inside the canine brain

Emory University researchers decided to apply a little state of the art brain technology, to the minds of a couple of pooches. They wired up a functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) machine, so it could accommodate a wide awake dog.

The dogs undergoing the procedure, were by necessity, well trained obedient types.

To carry out the brain scan, each dog had to willing enter the BIG brain reading machine, wearing big fluffy ear muffs, to filter out the sound and once inside, they had to STAY, perfectly still.

The objective of the study, was to explore the relationship between man and beast, from a dog perspective.

The beasts in the study included….

  • Callie, a two-year-old southern squirrel-hunting dog and
  • McKenzie, a three-year-old border collie.

Poking around inside a dog brain

The researchers peaked inside the animal’s  brain, each time they exposed them to a hand signal.

One hand signal was a GOOD NEWS signal – its appearance indicated that a fabulous doggie treat was on its way. The other signal, was the BAD NEWS version – nothing special was going to be offered.

Just like in humans, dog’s have a reward centre. The caudate region of both dogs, lit up like a Christmas tree, in response to the good things are coming your way, hand signal. When the bad news hand signal flashed – the brain region failed to glimmer.

Humans definitely have a direct line to the area of the reward system of a dog.

Dogs are more than just animals

Humans, who love dogs, often give their dog human emotions and feelings.

Non dog lovers think they’re nuts.

But, the bond between dogs and humans, dates back at least 10 000 years, maybe more. The dog has been an integral part of the human story. And humans have played a central role in dog history.

This study confirms, there definitely is a little chemistry between a man and his dog.

But if you’re a dog lover, you already knew that.

Good body chemistry

Go on, cuddle a canine – in an instant you’ll create an explosion of good body chemistry in you and the dog.

Even if your mutt thinks it is hugging a can opener.

 Functional MRI in Awake Unrestrained DogsPLoS ONE (2012) 7(5):e38027.  Gregory Berns, Andrew Brooks, Mark Spivak.
 

Interested in learning more about the chemistry behind dog cuddles ? 

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Further reading

dog taking his human for a walk old dog doing a bicycle trick little dog tormenting a big bully dog
Walkies – it’s time to take your human for a walk Old dogs can learn new tricks when oxidative stress is less Are you sometimes too dog tired to act responsible ?

The 7 Big Spoons™…. are master switches that turn health on.

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Balance Eicosanoids Rein in insulin Dial down stress Sleep ! Increase Vit D Culivate microflora Think champion

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