After training dogs to go in an M.R.I. scanner for the first time, with the goal of determining how dogs’ brains work and what they think of humans, scientist comes to inescapable conclusion: us dogs are people too.
Puppy Love: Proof Dogs Truly Madly Deeply Feel It
Ask any dog-owner and they will swear that they love their dogs and he or she loves them back, now it can be proven. Some super-smart dogs were specially trained to withstand the noise and strangeness of a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine without any sedation. This way, clear scans of the dogs brains were obtained and available for study.
He sought to come up with hard data to certify the unique bond between humans and their “best friends” was real, not imagined. His first canine candidates were Callie, a rescue dog who was nine months old, and McKenzie, a collie, aged 3. They both co-operated beautifully.
Dogs Are People, Too
For the past two years, my colleagues and I have been training dogs to go in an M.R.I. scanner — completely awake and unrestrained. Our goal has been to determine how dogs’ brains work and, even more important, what they think of us humans. Now, after training and scanning a dozen dogs, my one inescapable conclusion is this: dogs are people, too.
Because dogs can’t speak, scientists have relied on behavioral observations to infer what dogs are thinking. It is a tricky business. You can’t ask a dog why he does something. And you certainly can’t ask him how he feels. The prospect of ferreting out animal emotions scares many scientists. After all, animal research is big business. It has been easy to sidestep the difficult questions about animal sentience and emotions because they have been unanswerable. Until now.
Gregory Berns is a professor of neuroeconomics at Emory University and the author of “How Dogs Love Us: A Neuroscientist and His Adopted Dog Decode the Canine Brain.”