New research has shown that dogs only love their owners because they are suffering a canine form of Stockholm syndrome.
The affection many dog owners feel is actually ‘capture-bonding’, a psychological phenomenon in which hostages express empathy and sympathy and have positive feelings toward their captors.
These feelings can sometimes develop to the point of defending the captors, like when your dog barks at the postman and people in the park who get too close to you.
Researcher Simon Williams told us, “For years dog lovers have believed that their feelings for their pets were being reciprocated when in reality it was just a quirky psychological effect of the fact you regularly put a leash around their necks.
“You lock them in rooms and cages, you tie them up to things preventing escape, but you also feed them and show them affection – of course Stockholm syndrome was going to come into play.
“I’m sure it’s very confusing for a dog in the early days, but once they accept their fate, it becomes easy to adapt and start showing what people often mistake for ‘love’.
“It’s just the dog’s brain trying to protect itself.
“So just remember, your dog doesn’t love you – it’s psychologically damaged.”