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Does Your Dog Really Think You’re A Great Person?

August 16, 2012 by  

Does Your Dog Really Think You’re A Great Person?
Thanks to research at Emory University, researchers may soon be able to explore and understand the mind of man’s best friend.

While the direct impact of pet ownership on one’s health may be hard to prove, there’s little doubt that the special relationship between owner and dog plays a very therapeutic roles in our lives.

In fact, that special relationship has spawned a popular saying, “I only want to be as good a person as my dog thinks I am.”

Wouldn’t it be great if, when Fido looks sweetly into your face and cocks his little head sideways, you could know whether he was communicating his affection for you or only wishing for another tasty treat? Thanks to research at Emory University, researchers may soon be able to explore and understand the mind of man’s best friend and help you answer that question.

After developing new methodology using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (the same technique that unlocked the secrets of the human brain), scientists were able to scan the brains of alert dogs who were trained to hold their heads perfectly still on a chin rest during the scanning process. The four-legged participants also wore earmuffs to protect them from the noise of the scanner.

Dog lovers may not need convincing on the merits of researching the minds of our canine companions.

“To the skeptics out there, and the cat people, I would say that dogs are the first domesticated species, going back at least 10,000 years, and by some estimates 30,000 years,” said Gregory Berns, director of the Emory Center for Neuropolicy and lead researcher of the dog project. “The dog’s brain represents something special about how humans and animals came together. It’s possible that dogs have even affected human evolution. People who took dogs into their homes and villages may have had certain advantages. As much as we made dogs, I think dogs probably made some part of us, too.”

All procedures for the dog project were approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee of Emory.

Kellye Copas

Staff writer Kellye Copas has several years experience writing for the alternative health industry. Her background is in non-profit fundraising, copywriting and direct mail and web marketing.

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  • TIME

    Dear Kellye,

    Oh how right you are, our dogs are like four legged children. I know that they not only love us, but also enjoy our company.

    So they do enrich our life in so many ways, as we do likewise for them.
    Our two muffins have been all over the country as they travel with us when we are working. They love to hang out and sleep in the studio, as
    they both love music. They also lay on the sofa at home and watch Nick Jr every day when we are not on the road.

    Where as some of our cats could care less as long as we feed them. Yet when we come home all of them are all over us.
    As you didn’t note horses let me add that they love you just like dogs do. We just lost the old girl, she has been with me for 19 years.

    She would follow me around our yard when I am at home. Just to bring this down to a level of how we all are connected on a very deep level. The day she passed – our dogs cried as well the three cats all stayed with her. {It was beautiful beyond words.}
    Our other horse has been depressed since and whats really strange is that before this event he could care less about the dogs or cats, now he has taken all of them in as his own.

    So to answer your question, YES – they will love you, if you have a Pure Soul all will Animinals love you. We even have wild deer that hang out in our yard with the dogs, cats and horse!

    Peace and Love

    • Robert Smith

      Dogs are hard wired to be pack animals. I’m the pack leader in this house with everyone else an assistant except the dog. He knows his place.

      And, in his place he’s fed well, gets medical care, gets his ears scratched, and he’s trained to do as commanded.

      Sounds like a Congressman.


      • Jay

        Dogs (or canines, or What a good dog! Good baby) are the reigning, dominant species on Earth, a fact manifested by their uncanny ability to force their human underlings to pick up their biological leavings from the street while the dog supervises.

        They also enslave humans by making them willingly buy expensive 60-lb. bags of overpriced food and cookie treats, and then pay out-of-pocket for their costly health care needs.

        The human slave must leave the dog’s home every morning to work a job while the dog spends his day chewing shoes, drinking from the toilet, licking his b*lls, humping the slave’s wife while she sleeps or does laundry, and piss*ng on the slave’s stuff in-between enjoying numerous naps.

        To do all of this, dogs evolved hardcore psychological manipulation traits to control their human puppets. Using Darwinian tricks of body language, especially the crucial development of eyebrows which make them appear sad and/or cute, dogs have captured the high-ground on the “Survival of the Fittest” pyramid.

      • TIME

        Dear Jay,

        Thank you, I really enjoyed your post. I needed a good harty belly roll this week, and you supplied that in full!

        Have a super day.

        Peace and Love

  • dan

    …and here I thought he was just wondering why i keep peeing in his self-filling water-dish.

    • Robert Smith

      Actually there was an (insert your favorite) dignitary that asked his assistant to get him a glass of water.

      The assistant obliged several times until he came back and reported, “Secret service man is sitting on well.”


  • Bill

    Dogs are good people. They will stick with you through thick and thin and they are always in a happy mood. They are one of the best friends you could have.

    • Palin16

      Yes and dogs don’t hold a grudge.

  • Paul B.

    A good dog is the best friend a human could have.

  • Cliffystones

    We recently lost our companion of 17 years, and the emptiness is tough. We’ve decided to wait a while to adopt another, but I have a feeling it will be sooner than later.

    While you don’t need to pamper a dog, it’s a shame that there are people who get dogs only to ignore them or worse. I read something that stated that Muslims don’t value dogs like us Christians, maybe someone could elaborate? But it doesn’t surprise me with how little they seem to regard life in general.

    • Buster the Anatolian

      We just took in a young dog that was starved for both food and attention. All of our dogs and cats are rescue animals of some type. all are spayed/neutered as soon as we can arrange it.





      • Buster the Anatolian


        Show me where I made any reference as to being pro life or pro choice. Besides spay/neuter is birth control not abortion.


        Until you take in every stray dog and cat, feed them, care for their puppies and kittens, take them to the vet., and all their grand kids, great grand kids, and on and on and on you can expect to get plenty of “garbage” about controlling the pet population.

  • carrobin

    Muslims are taught that dogs, like other animals, are dirty and dangerous. That’s their loss, I think. I worked with a Muslim woman–from Boston, no veil, but very wary when anyone brought a dog into the office. One fellow left his big mastiff dozing by our cubicles while he went to see his boss, and she was cringing away from him. I asked what she thought the dog would do to her, and she said, “He could eat me!” I couldn’t help laughing.

    • Nadzieja Batki

      Keep getting more dogs as pets, people. They can keep America safe.

  • FreedomFighter

    Does Your Dog Really Think You’re A Great Person?


    If they ever give dogs intellect and the ability to talk through genetic manipulation, they may even replace humans, for they are noble, loyal, fearless in love, traits more humans should have and display.

    Laus Deo
    Semper Fi

  • Dan Mancuso

    One of the most difficult things to keep in mind is to NOT anthropomorphize my dog. I know he has a brain the size of a walnut and no higher functions, but in so many instances he seems to put that concept to a lie. In my household I am the pack leader, not his dad, but he is my best friend and proves it regularly. I trust him implicitly and you can’t say that about most people. He’s saved my life a couple times and more that a few times I got wild meat that I wouldn’t have if he wasn’t with me. Nothing or no one is going to sneak up on me at home or in the bush.I don’t have to lock my truck when he’s in it. He’s very well socialized and completely safe around livestock and children. According to medical science he improves my health. He has taught me about love and caring and I can’t help but think he is a special gift from God and I don’t know what I did to deserve such a beautiful gift – but I thank God regularly for him.

  • gunner689AI

    the more I’m around people the better I like my dog. ( Mark Twain )
    PC is BS

  • swampfox

    my African grey parrot peanut thinks I am a great person,
    especially when I have a bag of cheese puffs!


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