A rush of hormone that helps people bond could explain why humans and dogs have been best friends for thousands of years, say researchers in Japan.
The scientists found that dog owners experienced a surge of oxytocin when their pets gazed into their eyes, a dramatic effect that was mirrored in the animals themselves.
The same hormone has been shown to spike in mothers’ brains when they look into their children’s eyes. The physiological response drives maternal caring and strengthens the bond between mothers and their babies.
The latest finding suggests that dogs have tapped into this ancient biological mechanism, and through it reinforced the ties that have existed between humans and dogs since the animals were first domesticated thousands of years ago.