The concept of the human-animal bond was articulated as early as the late 1930s, when Konrad Lorenz and his friend and colleague Nikolaas Tinbergen worked with geese in order to study the instinctive behaviors of animals, leading them to rediscover the principle of imprinting. The same concept was recognized in Boris Levinson’s books Pet-Oriented Child Psychotherapy (1969) and Pets and Human Development (1979), which had an immense influence on the establishment of the field of study. Levinson is known for accidentally discovering the benefits of assisted-pet therapy. He found that withdrawn and uncommunicative children would interact positively whenever he brought his dog, Jingles, to their therapy sessions. His discovery was further reinforced by Sam and Elizabeth Corson at Ohio State University, who were among the first to research and evaluate pet-facilitated therapy.
Only in the early 1980s was the term ‘human–animal bond’ officially invented by Leo K. Bustad, who delivered a summary lecture on the Human-Pet Relationship on October 28, 1983 at the International Symposium in Vienna. This symposium was held in honor of Konrad Lorenz, and during his lecture Bustad praised him for his work on the human–animal bond and encouraged others to build on Lorenz’s work on the subject. Lorenz later adopted it in his research on imprinting in geese.
Bustad and other pet therapy advocates formed the Delta Society, which was built on the earlier work of Levinson and Croson In the 1970s and 1980s, national and international conferences led to greater recognition of the human–animal bond. Since then, there has been widespread media coverage of animal-assisted activity and therapy programs and service dog training.
Many dog owners claim to love and look after their animals like a child.
And now scientists have shown the age old bond between dogs and their owners is much closer to that of parent and child than previously thought.
Domestic dogs have been closely associated with humans for about 15,000 years and canines are so well adapted to living with human beings that in many cases the owner assumes the role of the dog’s main social partner, according to a new study.
Austrian researchers said the relationship between pet owners and their dogs is very similar to the deep connection between young children and their parents.
They examined the ‘secure base effect’, which is a key element in child/parent bonding that had not examined between dog owners and their pets.
Your dog really does love you:
Scans reveal affection comes from same part of brain as humans
They do experience feelings of love and affection, research says
Team trained more than a dozen dogs to cope with noisy MRI scanners
Scientists hope to show that the animals love us for things far beyond food
For years scientists have told us the bond between a pet and its owner goes no further than their need for food and security.
But new research suggests what dog owners knew all along – that they do in fact experience feelings of love and affection.
Scientists at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, discovered that a part of the brain associated with positive emotions, was similar in dogs and humans.