Good news for those who consider their dogs to be their children.
Many people argue that dogs aren't all that different from humans — and they're right. Dogs want to feel love, just like the rest of us.
Research from Japan had 30 dog owners and their pets look into each other's eyes. The longer they stared at each other, the greater the oxytocin boost.
Oxytocin is the hormone associated with attachment and love, the same hormone responsible for bonding children and their parents. So people who argue that they love their pets as if it were their child aren't just totally nuts — the sentiment is genuine.
Also, the study observed wolves to see if they had the same bond with their owners. Sadly, wolves were too hardened and wouldn't look into their owner's eyes as a domesticated dog would.
Why is this? Well, because wolves view eye contact as aggression, which means over time, dogs evolved to exhibit more human traits.
So how to do you make this connection with your pup? The answer is simple: Start praising him or her.
"When your dog makes eye contact, praise your dog and give them a treat. After a few repetitions, your dog will learn that this is what you want and you will find your dog looking to make eye contact more often. This way the dog makes positive associations with paying attention to its owner and the oxytocin bonding is an added benefit,” Elisha Stynchula, general manager and partner of "I Said Sit" school for dogs tells us.
Hmm. Looks like we need to buy more treats!