And They called it 'Puppy Love'!
They call it ‘puppy love’, and this Valentine's Day dog owners will be celebrating their affections with their pooches.
Research suggests that card sales are set to boom for Britain’s pups, revealing an estimated one per cent of the millions of consumers who buy cards for their special person are now also doing so for their dogs.
Added to this, Britain’s biggest pet retailer suggests that dog owners spend an average of £30 a piece on Valentines presents for the four-legged love of their life.
According to Psychology Today, the human mind naturally creates the need for people to develop close relationships as a means for survival.
This basic instinct is what drives people to develop close relationships – and those relationships extend to our furry friends.
Unlike human relationships, which can be complex and fraught with expectations, our pets offer a simple, pure form of companionship.
One of the primary reasons we become so emotionally attached to our pets is the unconditional love and acceptance they provide.
Its mutually beneficial with science highlighting dogs help with our health, lowering our blood pressure, reducing our stress levels, offering us a gateway to the outdoors. Apparently, dog owners can live longer and smile more than non-dog owners!
On average, women tend to have more positive attitudes toward dogs as opposed to men. Yet studies have demonstrated that both benefit from the mutual release of the love hormone Oxytocin.
In the same way breast feeding mothers receive an Oxytocin ’hit’, simply stroking your own dog releases this happy hormone, and this is correlated with one reason we form such a strong social bond with our dogs.
It’s also to do with dogs’ emotional intelligence that was once doubted by science, which adds to our close epigenetic evolution over thousands of years.
It’s interesting to note that dogs are born understanding what pointing’ means, whereas chimpanzees do not understand this physical ‘cue’.
As a result of this physical and social evolution, dogs respond to social cues common to humans. Dogs quickly learn the meaning of words, show cognitive bias and exhibit emotions that seem to reflect those of their humans.
Whilst it’s important not to consider your dog as a ‘little’ human in a furry suit, their perception of human body postures, including facial expressions is combined with dogs’ ability to sniff the fluctuating levels of cortisol in our system. This enables dogs to respond to us with great intuition and emotional intelligence.
But is this just ‘cupboard’ love? The great advancements in medical science like MRI scans confirms that part of the canine brain is associated with positive emotions and they do, indeed, feel love for their human companions.
There are some studies that suggest that the grief we feel on losing our beloved pets shows that the connection we feel for them might be stronger than the ones we feel for human family members.
Love me love my dog! At the end of the day, dogs don't judge us, never answer us back or lie to us – in fact, they are the key source of loyal companionship that many people crave.