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Can a dog fall in love with a female dog?

Can a dog feel love for a female dog? Anthropomorphism helping, we will answer yes! If in the middle of the 18th century, when science was still in its infancy concerning the understanding of animal behavior, it was not incongruous to project human motivations and emotions onto the animal, today it is different. Science has progressed and the study of behavior has replaced anthropomorphism. So, given the state of our knowledge, what answer can we give to the question of a dog's love for a female dog?

The point about love in humans

With neurosciences, the mechanics of love are more and more precisely known. It depends on a complex chemistry controlled by the brain. And let's be clear, love serves above all the reproduction of the species.

When we fall in love, hormones are secreted in our body and make us euphoric. When we like someone, the hypothalamus secretes testosterone, which increases attraction, and in turn causes the release of dopamine, which is associated with pleasure and reward. The sexual act stimulates the release of luliberin, which makes us want to continue until we reach orgasm. And finally, when the latter is reached, the brain is under endorphin, a hormone causing bliss, and oxytocin, which feeds the attachment to the partner.

Some specialists call for a step back from the results of these studies, which focus on the brain's behaviour and are therefore costly, and which for the moment only concern a small number of individuals, in order to draw general conclusions. Indeed, if sexuality and love of human beings are indeed hormonal phenomena, they cannot be reduced to that, because of our degree of consciousness and our capacities of imagination.

What about the love of a dog for a female dog?

For humans, love is made up of memories, moments lived in the present and projections into the future. Other emotions fuel it. It seems obvious that none of these aspects are present in the female dog. It is really about attachment, bonding, or simply the instinct to reproduce. While specialists have observed males being able to follow a female closely, this is not the most common case.

The proximity of a male to a female in heat can trigger a strong reaction: barking, whining, crying, insistent behavior to get closer to the female. This is not psychological suffering, but a consequence of the inability to reproduce. This is the "attraction" phase that we have described for humans, during which testosterone is secreted and increases the desire to mate.

The dog has a different emotional intensity than we do. The proof is in his expressions of joy when he finds you after you have only been away for 10 minutes. Dogs are not as aware as we are, no matter how intelligent they are, and do not rationalize their emotions. They experience emotions like a two-year-old child does. But while humans continue to develop, in dogs it stops.

Moreover, a female dog in heat will naturally seek contact with one or more males in order to be impregnated: it is clear that these are not feelings of love.

And for those who still have doubts, you should know that this type of behavior will no longer occur as soon as the animal is sterilized.