Research into Human-Dog bonds

I have begun reading the book ‘Dogs that know when their owners are coming home’ by Rupert Sheldrake. The book explores the connection between Dogs and their People, and how much we can learn and appreciate all animals emotions and the ‘Morphic fields’ held between all animals.

From reading just a few pages, the book has already inspired me to produce the book for the purpose of using dogs as a basis for people to understand all animals emotions and hopefully appreciate that our love for ‘mans best friend’ should extend to all creatures.

Plants and animals are seen as genetically programmed automata, and the exploitation of animals is taken for granted. Meanwhile back at home, we have our pets. Pets are in a different category from other animals. Pet-keeping is confined to the private or subjective realm.’

There is a huge gulf between companion animals, treated as members of our families, and animals in factory farms and research laboratories. ‘

Sheldrake draws upon these issues, and further expands how our bond with our pets, dogs, can be used to teach us a lot about animals abilities to create bonds and become linked with humans. These links between humans and dogs are shown through almost paranormal phenomena, such as dogs knowing when an owner is coming home even when there are no said cues of time (routine), smell or hearing which could come into play

The book continuously gives examples directly from people about dogs showing extremely intelligent emotional behaviour… From my last talk with Beth she mentioned it would be best if the book only contains my own research from behaviourists and that my book research is just for my own understanding and development, however I would really like to include some of the research or stories from this book as I think it will strengthen the content of the book and help me structure my message of the book

What is it like to be a jealous dog?

From reading the scholarly article ‘What is is like to be a jealous dog?’ ( I have found some points which I can draw from and use in my work:

  • The fact that dogs are used as a platform to research into the evolution of jealousy because of their long lasting bonds with humans and their strong socio-cognitive abilities *This shows how dogs intelligence and strong bond with humans can teach us many things*

What can the social emotions of dogs teach us about human emotions?

Another scholarly article on what dogs can teach us about human emotions, has even further intrigued me into how dogs can teach us things (

  • Jealousy comes up again as a point of reference, within that how in humans it is seen as sexual infidelity or fairness… so why would dogs feel it? What can this show about emotions such as jealousy?

An Attachment Perspective on the Child-Dog Bond – using dogs to discover child attachment formations

This scholarly article ( uses dogs emotional bonds as a basis to discover more about attachment formations in children – *Showing further how highly regarded dogs emotions are held, and what they can be used to show us*

How the presence of a companion reduces the effects of social exclusion on mental health

This article talks of the positive mental effects of having a companion around you. The experiment showed that people without the dogs got jobs done however showed lower mental wellbeing compared to the other group who had dog companions with them and showed significantly higher mental wellbeing

‘► Social exclusion is perceived as highly threatening to individuals’ mental health. ► Presence of companion animals buffers the adverse effects of social exclusion. ► Participants were either socially excluded or included. ► Participants performed either in the presence or absence of a dog. ► Absence of a dog decreased mental well-being in socially excluded participants.’

**Although all of these findings relate to how dogs can help us understand humans which isn’t what I want the aim of the book to be about (I want it to be about how dogs can be used to show us more about all animals and how we should try to understand all animals emotions), I feel I can relate them to my research because they show how important dogs are to us and how we can LEARN FROM THEM – so why cant we learn other things about all animals from them?**


This article from the Huffington post about animal sentience makes a point about people that have pets have a more open idea to animals emotions: ‘With the public, I think it’s quite different. Many people simply assume that animals act consciously and base their belief on their own domestic animals or pets. Other people do not want animals to be conscious because it makes it easier for us to do things to animals that would be hard to do if we knew they were unhappy and suffering.” (

If I can prove to people that the way they view their pets emotions and intelligence can be transferred to other animals then hopefully this is the way I can use dogs to increase peoples empathy to all animals.

This steered me to thinking about adding small sections about what animals are either on par or higher intelligence and emotional intelligence as dogs, such as pigs. To strike a connection between animals people don’t think of in the same way as pets.

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