Let's be honest, we've all watched the family hound inhale a bowl of chow at one time or another and wondered if he/she is staying around because we're the guardians of the food supply. Is our Cavoodle really our best friend or just in it for the snacks?

In the most heart-warming news we've heard in a while it turns out Fido isn't just in it for the Chum, the bone-shaped biscuits or the leftover dinner scraps, our dog loves us just for us "without hope or agenda" as perfectly put in the classic Love Actually scene when Mark declares his secret unrequited love for his best friend's wife Juliet (played by Keira Knightley).

And we have neuroscientist Dr Gregory Berns to thank for discovering this excellent news. According to The New York Times, the Emory University neuroscientist has spent the last five years scanning the brains of dogs (safely and gently with MRI - he's a friend to the animal world) to understand what man's best friend really thinks about.

To determine the love versus lunch question, Berns performed, "...an experiment where we gave them (the dogs) hot dogs some of the time and praise some of the time. When we compared their responses and looked at the rewards centre of their brains, the vast number of dogs responded to praise and food equally." However he further found that, "... about 20 per cent had stronger responses to praise than to food. From that, we conclude(d) that the vast majority of dogs love us at least as much as food."

One other interesting thing Berns learnt is dogs brains are, "...wired to process faces." Dogs can sort their family's faces from strangers faces which totally proves they're the best security system - if they haven't seen that face before they're not getting in without an ID approval check from their owner.

Sounds like The Secret Life of Pets was closer to the truth than we realised.

via GIPHY

 

Love or lunch? Science says this is what your dog is really thinking