Canine cognition has exploded in recent years - top-tier universities and research sites, including Duke University, Yale University, the Max Planck Institute in Germany and Barnard College all have programs dedicated to studying dog psychology. At Emory University, neuroscientist Gregory Berns has been using an M.R.I. scanner to investigate the inner working of dogs' brains.
In a New York Times op-ed last year, Berns revealed his findings, saying that dogs experience many brain functions that are startlingly similar to human experiences.
The ability to experience positive emotions, like love and attachment, would mean that dogs have a level of sentience comparable to that of a human child. And this ability suggests a rethinking of how we treat dogs.