|Barked: Sat Feb 2, '13 2:06am PST |
|It's a tricky question. As all dogs are different. Same as humans.
There are actually many instances in which a dog is horribly mistreated, and still shows a bond toward their caretaker who has mistreated him. However, some dogs will grow to fear a person if they mistreat them. May even snap. I think there are a lot of factors in it. It would be impossible to prove without doing some kind of study, I'd imagine. But I'd bet whether or not the caretaker shows them any kind of affection at all plays a large role. For example, perhaps they used to act like they cared about the dog. Showered him in praise, doted on him, made him a pampered pooch. But then once the beginning months/years were over... suddenly lost interest. I think that dog would probably still have some kind of attachment to the owner. Another scenario where I think the dog might would be if the bad owner mistreated the dog, but still occasionally gave him positive attention. Even so, I've heard of some dogs who likely never get positive attention and still seem bonded to their owner. In short, dogs are a mystery.
I think perhaps other things factor into the equation. Breed, temperament, things of the like. Many pit bulls will usually be people dogs no matter what. But I can't imagine my Sandy putting up with being mistreated.
In the end, it's mostly just personal opinion. It would be hard to prove whether or not they can love unconditionally. Either way, I do know they can love. The idea that only humans are capable of love (which is an emotion, humans only invented the word to explain it) is strange. I feel that most any social species can feel something akin to love. Some call it dependency. Which is funny, because is it not dependency in humans? Unconditional or not, I know dogs do form tight bonds with their owners. Especially when treated right.
Sorry if that came out jumbled. I'm stressed, have a migraine, and it's 5am.
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