A fascinating and heart-warming investigation into the unique bond between humans and dogs.
Any dog owner knows that the bond with their dog is special. The unparalleled loyalty and total devotion of a dog seems the stuff of true love - but is this a whimsical construction that bears little relation to reality?
Through ground-breaking scientific experiments and eye-opening historical evidence, canine behavioural psychologist Dr Clive Wynne unlocks the secret to our unique bond with dogs: their capacity to love, an unprecedented attribute in the animal kingdom.
In Dog is Love, Dr Wynne debunks the myth that dogs possess a unique form of intelligence. Instead, he shows that dogs are able to show remarkable sympathy and can respond to human emotions in a way that is truly remarkable. One particularly moving study shows that dogs' and their owners' hearts beat in synchrony, just as the hearts of a loving human couple do.
Looking at the evolution of dogs, Dr Wynne points out that it was the wolves' ability to form relationships with mankind, becoming indispensable hunting companions, that enabled the depth of love and affection between dogs and humans that we know today. Dr Wynne shares his experiences of hunting with the Mayangna tribe in Nicaragua and the vital role played by their hunting dogs to shed light on what the early human-dog relationship might have looked like, and explains the science behind what really goes on when a young pup grows up in a human family.
Yet being useful to mankind doesn't necessitate the kind of closeness that we see between dogs and their owners. What's the secret of how dogs do it? In part, it's their behaviour: their wagging tails, need for physical touch, and ebullient greetings when a beloved human arrives. There is also exciting biological research - from the fields of genetics and genomics, neurology and endocrinology - that help us to understand how canine's bodies are capable of love. This includes a very recent finding by Dr Wynne that dogs' DNA has been changed through domestication by the same genetic mutations which leads to Williams-Beuren syndrome, a rare disorder which results in extreme gregariousness and friendliness.
This is a delightful, heart-warming and fascinating analysis of the unique bond between humans and dogs, perfect for anyone who shares their home with their dog and wonders just how much they love you.
Dr Clive D. L. Wynne was born and raised on the Isle of Wight, studied at University College London, and got his Ph.D. at Edinburgh University. After time at the Ruhr-Universitat Bochum, Duke University, Universität Konstanz, the University of Western Australia and the University of Florida, he joined the Psychology Department at Arizona State University in 2013, where he directs the Canine Science Collaboratory. He is also the Director of Research at Wolf Park in Battle Ground, IN.