Can Your Dog Fall in Love?
Updated: Aug 18
Hi, I’m Jude and I run Park Life Honiton, a premium dog adventure and cat sitting service in East Devon. I woke up very early on a Monday morning (which is not like me!) and became totally obsessed with writing a blog about dog love! My mind was in a spin as to the differences between humans falling in love and dogs falling in
love. I got up early that morning and started madly researching.
Falling in love is one of the most beautiful emotions anyone can go through. You feel instantly close to someone, you crave their attention, a passing glance can make your mingle tingle and you deeply reminisce about the moments you’ve shared, funny conversations, laughing together, playing silly games and you dream about being invited on a date, your first kiss… and I think i’ll leave it at that! The endorphins flood your body and make you feel deeply floaty and extremely good, it’s an amazing feeling but why does it happen?
Delving into the unromantic science there is a biological reason for it and that is to help us bond to a mate so we form a union for safety, nurturing, protection and obviously (the best bit) procreation. Falling in love helps us find a soul mate to make life easier, carry on our lineage and form a family environment, we are sociable creatures after all.
Do dogs feel this intense love? well yes, undoubtedly! dogs have the same chemical responses to emotions as us humans. Scientists have recorded oxytocin levels whilst responding to dog friends equal to humans. Even though they don’t understand words and dream about the future kiss they do become deeply passionate towards a friend and can be devoted and the reason dogs are such “an amazing success story” with humans is because of their ability to form a friendship with other species. You let a dog grow up with any species they can form a bond. That’s why they have become such an amazingly dedicated and useful friend for herding, protecting and simply company.
A dog has the same level of emotional intelligence as a 2 1/2 year old human so the romantic and sexual sense of falling in love is not present but the deep nurturing love and excitement of seeing their favourite being is. Dogs are incredibly loyal because of thousands of years of breeding. Us humans have formed an animal that has developed the ability to love deeply otherwise they wouldn’t do anything for us or indeed, stick around.
That’s what differentiates them from the wolf, just imagine if the wolf formed deep bonds with other species of animals, I think they would get a bit hungry!
I see it constantly whilst I’m working with the dogs on the Wilderness Adventures. Maisy and Pepper’s owners are good friends so they send their dogs on an adventure together. It’s as clear as day that these two are best of friends to the point if Maisy isn’t taken out one day, Pepper won’t feel as happy and will feel a little more insecure without his friend Maisy. Pepper goes mental when he see’s his girl in the van waiting for him and as soon as they’re off the lead they have a little play.
This Valentines my owners have a lovely surprise waiting for them. Each dog has got a valentines day card from one of their friends in their dog walking group. The dogs asked me to put little love hearts in the cards and sign it from them. I even had to go and buy the cards for them, you don’t know how awkward it was having to buy a large amount of valentines day cards. I must of looked like a busy woman!
Socialising a dog properly doesn’t come from letting your dog charge towards every dog in the area, that’s a sure fire way for doggy divorce! Love comes from a mutual respect, common curtesy and decency. A meeting with a strange dog can be a little nerve wrecking for lots and dogs being dogs have no social boundaries like we humans do. Teaching your dog these manners can be the making of them, teaching them to ignore other dogs whilst being happy to be in the same space can turn them into gentledogs. It’s ok if they have a good friend that they like to play with but it’s also important that the dogs are equally matched and equally happy to play. Being able to prevent your dog from engaging with some should be a goal, especially if they are on the lead and if you can do that, that is when you have a well socialised dog!
I have created a group dog walk that goes beyond a standard group dog walk, The Park Life Wilderness Adventures recognises that keeping your dogs focus through lots of games prevents dog obsessions, keeps dogs friendly and beautifully manageable. Of course, we still have room for falling in love as well!
Happy Valentines day.