How Dogs Became Our Best Friends

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When our beloved dog gazes into our eyes with that heartwarming ‘you mean the world to me’ look, they activate oxytocin, the love hormone that bonds us to human babies, according to a new study in Science.

In the study that explains why the relationship between human and dog is similar to the bond between parent and child, Japanese researchers discovered that the level of oxytocin increases in both humans and their furry pets when they interact, especially when they stare into each other’s eyes. They even suggest that dogs became domesticated because they have always understood the importance of eye-to-eye communication.

The new research was published Thursday in Science magazine and conducted by researchers at Azabu University, Jichi Medical University and the University of Tokyo Health Sciences, all in Japan.

The scientists sprayed oxytocin into dogs’ noses and placed them in a room with both their owners and unfamiliar people. Takefumi Kikusui, one of the authors of the study, says that this increased the mutual gazing between dogs and their owners, as well as the level of the love hormone in humans.

Here’s what he says:

“I personally believe that there is a tight bond between the owner and dogs. I have three standard poodles. I strongly feel the tight bonding with these dogs. Actually, I participated in the experiment, and my oxytocin boosted up after the eye gaze, like 300 percent.”

 

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