Scientists Offer New Theory on Why Dogs Bond With Humans

It comes down to their ability to connect with many other species

Very good dogs
Why do dogs bond so well with humans? Science may have the answer.
Mariano Szklanny/Creative Commons
By Tobias Carroll / November 23, 2019 6:16 am

Most dogs are incredibly friendly creatures: happy to see other people, happy to see other dogs and generally prone to far more socializing than other pets. They also have a penchant for empathy: how many people have found that their dog seemed to notice when they were having a bad day, and responded by giving them more attention?

At The New York Times, James Gorman explored new scientific developments that delve into just why dogs bond so easily with humans. At the center of the article is Dr. Clive Wynne, author of the new book Dog Is Love: Why and How Your Dog Loves You

“Dr. Wynne doesn’t agree with the scientific point of view that dogs have a unique ability to understand and communicate with humans,” Gorman writes. “He thinks they have a unique capacity for interspecies love, a word that he has decided to use, throwing aside decades of immersion in scientific jargon.”

There’s more evidence for this than you might think. If you’re fond of the “dogs being adorable” corners of the internet, you’ve probably watched at least one video about a dog’s bond with an unlikely animal. (The one about a lion and a dachshund who are best friends is a particular favorite.) That adaptability is at the center of Dr. Wynne’s argument: if a dog grows up around a certain animal, it will develop an affinity for them. 

It’s an interesting argument, and one that makes a lot of sense when you think about it. And now that at least one dog is learning to communicate via words, perhaps we’ll be able to pose this question to the dogs themselves. Whether they’ll answer, or will simply ask for belly rubs, is still up for grabs.

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