Check your smartphone, turn on the radio, turn on television and you are bombarded with warnings to “socially distance” yourself from others to slow the spread of Covid-19, a serious novel coronavirus. A more precise instruction would be to practice physical distancing. Physical distancing and hygiene are imperative to getting our lives back to a normal pace.

We know social connections are critical to our personal well-being, and the same holds true for our dogs. They, like us, are a social and cooperative species and, also like us, require social interactions. According to Matthew D. Lieberman in his book, Social, the mammalian brain “[has] evolved to experience threats to social connections the same way they experience physical pain.”

So, the capacity to feel “social pains and pleasures” is built into our neural circuitry. We cannot get around this, nor can our dogs. As…

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