Patt Morrison for May 10, 2012

New research may help us understand what our dogs are thinking

Dog MRI

Bryan Meltz/Emory University

Callie wears ear protection as she prepares to enter the scanner. The research team includes, from left, Andrew Brooks, Gregory Berns and Mark Spivak.

Callie the Dog

Emory University

A closeup of Callie the dog.


That look on Sparky’s face? Love. Adulation. Sadness when he sees you grieving. Or, at least, these are the thoughts we imagine our pup having when he looks our way with his head cocked just so.

Soon, however, we’ll be able to know what dogs are really thinking. Is it love, or is it the love of food that bonds our dogs to us?

Scientists at Emory University recently proved that it’s possible to perform an MRI on a non-sedated canine and the next step is (you guessed it) – what, exactly, lies behind those big, brown puppy-dog eyes.

WEIGH IN

Do dogs know what we’re thinking? How about what we’re feeling? What would you want to know about your pet’s thoughts?

Guest:

Prof. Greg Berns, professor of neuro-economics and lead researcher of the Dog Project at Emory University

Michael Chill, dog trainer and behavior specialist


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