A recent break-through study from Azabu University in Japan has finally confirmed why humans develop such a strong bond with their dogs… and the answer is all in the eyes.
When a dog owner and their pooch make eye contact, the so-called ‘love’ hormone, Oxytocin, is activated – the same response that we know occurs between mothers breastfeeding their babies – causing a family-type bond between man and pup.
The study is the first EVER to demonstrate this hormonal bonding effect between humans and another animal species, mainly because other animals refuse to maintain eye contact for longer than a few seconds.
Brian Hare, an expert on canine cognition from Duke University in North Carolina, suspects that this bond helps to explain why the notion of dogs being considered ‘man’s best friend’ dates back thousands of years, and also thinks that it could lead to a better understanding of why service dogs are so effective for people suffering autism and other social disorders.
The study also suggests that for those who are trying to train their dog, especially when still a puppy, should focus on making eye contact instead of just teaching them verbally, for a more powerful response and a life-time bond.