Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The bond between dogs and humans

Eye contact between dogs and their owners
release the "love hormone" oxytocin in both.
Any dog lover knows the strength of the bond between dogs and humans. We love them like family, and grieve them like family once they're gone. Many refer to their dogs as their children, and some cultures have special words for pet ownership that mimics the words and relationships between parents and children.

Japanese scientists from the Azabu University in Japan have performed a series of experiments on the dog-human bond, and found physical proof of the connection. Our love for dogs works on the same biochemical basis as our love for our children.

When owner's and dogs see each other and gaze into each other's eyes, their bodies release oxytocin. This is a hormone associated with bonding and trust, and many call it the "love hormone."

Staring into the eyes of an animal you don't know, even a dog, is generally interpreted as a sign of dominance, or as a threat. The scientists think the dogs have acquired the "puppy gaze" that works with their owners as an effort to communicate and form social bonds. This process has gone on for tens of thousands of years.

The experiment also tested owners of wolves. They do not use the mutual gaze as a form of communication and bonding. The connection is unique for dogs, and dogs have proven better at reading humans than even chimpanzees who would logically be genetically closer to us than dogs are.

Read more at cbs news.

~ Maria Sadowski ~