How Petting And Gazing Into Your Dog’s Eyes Help You Bond

Young man stroking golden retriever in the park

(Picture Credit: mediaphotos/Getty Images)

A simple gaze or touch can flood a person with joy. Just look at parents who feel joy and love when they hold or look at their babies. Apparently, your brain releases the same chemical, called oxytocin, when you pet or gaze into your dog’s eyes.

The good news is that your dog feels the same way when you show them the love. You probably already knew that, but now, science can prove it!

Science Proves It: You And Your Dog Both Feel The Love

New research from Japan suggests that those loving looks at your dog might be the “oxytocin gaze,” and the feelings of adoration go both ways.

“It’s the feeling of closeness and understanding when you look into the eyes of another individual or another dog. They looked at when you pet a dog, too,” said assistant professor Kara Thorntun-Kurth at the Animal, Dairy, and Veterinary Science Department at Utah State University. “That also increases oxytocin levels. Oxytocin also leads towards that feeling of calmness and happiness.”

This shouldn’t come as a surprise, considering how our dogs constantly look for our companionship and affection. Your gaze and touch floods them with oxytocin.

In a way, you can say that this may be a nice show of two-way love between person and dog. In that single instance, when you look at your dog and they look back at you, you can both enjoy a burst of oxytocin at the same time.

How To Further Strengthen Your Bond

Chances are you already have quite the strong bond with your pet. A relationship founded on trust and respect is bound to be strong and enduring.

However, in case you are in that stage of training a new pet or trying to bond with a more sensitive and shy dog, a few tricks might help.

Try bonding with your dog by teaching them tricks. Tricks almost always mean treats. Even if they haven’t started on the big ones just yet, be generous and reward your pooch. Once they know that you’re someone who upholds treat-giving time, you’ll develop their trust.

Another way to bond is to play games. Almost every dog loves games, and it’s also a good way to get closer to them.

Take the time to explore which activities resound with your dog. Some dogs love playing fetch, others prefer hide-and-seek. There are even those who prefer to just sit on your lap and be petted and cared for. Whatever your dog’s preferences are, be sure to respect them and indulge them.

Isn’t it nice to know that science backs the love you share with your dog? What do you think of this new study? Let us know in the comments below!

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