Returning to happy dogs!

A republication of a post from exactly one year ago.

Yesterday, I was at our local Three Rivers Hospital having a colonoscopy. The procedure was a breeze but I wouldn’t recommend the bowel prep one has to take before the procedure! 😦

However, it ran on much longer than we expected and, consequently, there wasn’t sufficient time to do a new post for you good people for today.

So as I do in these situations, I republish the post that came out exactly a year ago: on the 12th August, 2015. As it happens it seemed a wonderful follow-on to yesterday’s post: Have A Lovely Day.


More on those happy dogs.

Indebted, again, to Chris Gomez.

Jean and I were out for much of yesterday resulting in me not sitting down to compose today’s post until nearly 5pm (PDT) in the afternoon. I must admit I didn’t have a clue as to what to write about. Then sitting in my email inbox was another email from Chris Gomez with this short but valuable sentence, “Love is real….Check this out! (via ABC7 Los Angeles local news iOS app) Study reveals scientific reason your dog is happy to see you.” Chris included a link to the ABC7 news item. I’m republishing it here.



A new study explains why your dog gets so happy to see you. (Shutterstock)
A new study explains why your dog gets so happy to see you. (Shutterstock)

Tuesday, August 11, 2015 11:04AM

Is your dog overwhelmed with joy anytime you walk through the door? There’s a scientific reason behind their excitement, a new study shows, and it’s not just because you feed them.

Researchers at Emory University used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to scan dogs’ brains for activity when they were shown images of dog faces, human faces and ordinary objects.

The dogs’ temporal lobes lit up “significantly more” when presented with the faces than with the objects. These findings suggest that dogs may recognize both human and dog faces.

Facial recognition causes dog brains to activate in the same areas as in monkey and human brains, the study found. This is separate from the “reward areas” that would be triggered by anticipation of food.

“What we’re finding with the imaging work is that dogs love their humans-and not just for food,” researcher Gregory Berns told io9. “They love the company of humans simply for its own sake.”

“The existence of a face-selective region in the temporal dog cortex opens up a whole range of new questions to be answered about their social intelligence,” the researchers explained, such as whether dogs can understand different facial expressions and whether they can read body language.

This isn’t the first time scientists have explored what makes dogs’ tails wag with excitement when reunited with their owners. A January study that Berns was also involved in found that dogs have a positive reaction to the scent of familiar humans compared with other smells, even those of other dogs.

The results of that study “suggested that not only did the dogs discriminate that scent [of familiar humans] from the others, they had a positive association with it.”

A 2013 behavioral study found that dogs can show when they’re happy to see their owners by lifting their eyebrows. Their left eyebrow went up when they saw their respective owners, the study found. They didn’t have this reaction for other things that may excite them, such as attractive toys.


Granted there was some overlap with Monday’s post but there was more than enough in the ABC7 article to warrant sharing it with you.

Thanks again, Chris.


You all stay happy with your dogs!


10 thoughts on “Returning to happy dogs!

  1. Enjoyable and enlightening post, Paul. Thanks! I wonder if you or any of your readers might be able to decipher a piece of my dog’s body language. She is a 10 year old little poodle. I have observed that when I speak with her giving praise, or some other positive act, she will look straight at me and open her mouth slightly then close it. Sometimes more than once. I feel like this is a positive feedback, almost like she wants to talk back, but have not been able to find it documented anywhere. I would appreciate any light you might shed on this.


    1. Tony, that would be my own interpretation of your poodle’s behavior. But I will ask Jeannie for her views and, possibly, speak to Jim Goodbrod, our friend who is a vet and lives close by.

      But let’s see what other readers make of it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Just read it your query to Jean. She responded that she had never seen a dog do that but that it didn’t seem like a negative action, something I’m sure you are certain about.


      1. Yes, I will post something in this place. I know it’s personal medical stuff but it seems to me that if it helps just one other person it will be valuable to share the details. Hopefully more news by Wednesday. Your thoughts are very much appreciated: Thank you!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You are welcome. I follow a couple of bloggers that wrote about some of their health issues. Not in-depth but enough to make readers understand the trials and tribulations of being ill.

        I have mentioned my own health issues a bit on past blogs and in some of my replies to commenters.

        Frankly I think sharing some things makes us seem more human and approachable but that’s merely my own feeling.


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