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Dogs Like Human Children Get Jealous, Study

Update Date: Oct 31, 2015 01:15 PM EDT
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A study finds that dogs are like humans, with the emotional capacities of human children.

Neuroeconomics professor Gregory Berns studied his dog Callie and other dogs, finding that they felt like children.

"The ability to experience positive emotions, like love and attachment, would mean that dogs have a level of sentience comparable to that of a human child. And this ability suggests a rethinking of how we treat dogs," Berns wrote in an op-ed in The New York Times.

Berns got dogs and trained them to get wired into an MRI simulator built in the living room. Scientists found that the activity in the dog's caudate, the part of the brain located between the brainstem and the cortex, expands with the dog getting the smell of a dog or a human.

It is what the human brain experiences at the smell of food, love, and money.

Interestingly, dogs can get jealous, like humans, reported Reuters. It was found that dogs "pushed or touched their owners" when they played with a plush animatronic dog, while a quarter of the 36 dogs "even snapped at the toy".

These are traits that have been gained by dogs through evolution, as they have spent so much time with humans.

However, Western Carolina University professor Hal Herzog disagreed, believing that dogs have "more wolf-like rather than human-like qualities".

An article published in the 2011 journal "Anthrozoos," explained that in 60 cultures around the world, humans domesticate dogs and keep them for "hunting, cleaning garbage and chasing wild creatures", while some even eat them.

"They didn't have a sense that dogs are our companions," he said.

About 70% of global dog populations live in packs around garbage dumps or scavenge in small villages, which is ideal because it mimics what a dog is supposed to do, says Herzog.

"If you had to be a dog, you'd probably rather be near a garbage dump in Mexico City than a Manhattan penthouse," the scientist says. "Semi wild dogs have better lives than those that live in homes with their reproductive organs cut. I'd rather be a real dog than a pet."

Herzog also says that feedinig dogs and cats on vegetarian diets is not fair or healthy, as they are carnivores. Treating dogs as people is "not good for them".

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