Love hormone is the cause why Dogs are Human’s best friends for thousands of years, says research

Love hormone is the cause why Dogs are Human’s best friends for thousands of years, says research

Puppy power: ‘Love hormone’ floods dogs and humans when they gaze into each others’ eyes

 Yes, we love you too. Findings by Japanese researchers identify a chemical reason why the bond between humans and dogs is so strong. Photo: Dustin Shum

A rush of the “love hormone”, oxytocin, floods the bodies of both humans and dogs when they stare into each others’ eyes, helping explain why they have been best friends for thousands of years, say researchers in Japan.

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.

“This might be why the human-dog relationship seems to work so well,” said Takefumi Kikusui at Azabu University.

Domestic dogs are descended from wolves, and may have domesticated themselves. The theory is that the boldest of wolves scavenged leftovers discarded by early humans on the edges of settlements. Over generations, the wolves’ offspring became bolder still and ever closer to the people they relied on. In time, humans saw the animals as natural allies and began breeding them to be better hunters and herders.

But the relationship between humans and their dogs developed far beyond the practical. In time, the animals became companions, loved by their owners just as their owners loved their families.

To investigate how dogs and humans formed their special relationship, Kikusui’s team ran a series of experiments. They began by watching 30 owners play with their dogs for half an hour. The breeds included golden retrievers, poodles, a Jack Russell terrier, a German shepherd dog, and several miniature schnauzers. The group was an even split of males and females.

Urine tests before and after the session revealed that oxytocin levels spiked in people whose dogs stared at them the most. But their dogs experienced a similar effect, with their own oxytocin rising too. When the scientists repeated the experiment with hand-raised wolves, the effect was nowhere to be seen.

They went on to perform a further experiment. This time, the researchers sprayed either salt solution or a dose of oxytocin up the dogs’ noses before watching them in a room with their owners. Dogs that had received the hormone boost stared for longer at their owners, though the effect only stood out in females. Again, tests on the owners found that the longer their dogs gazed at them, the higher their oxytocin levels rose. Why the effect was so vivid in females, but not in males, will become the focus of future research.

Kikusui said the findings point to a virtuous circle that triggers the release of oxytocin in people and their dogs and so strengthens the bonds between them. Details of the study are reported in the journal, Science.

In an accompanying article , Evan MacLean and Brian Hare at the Duke Canine Cognition Center in North Carolina, say the findings “reveal a powerful mechanism through which dogs win our hearts, and we win theirs in return”.

“If they stand up, the implications of these findings are far-reaching,” they add. As well as providing clues about how dogs became part of human history, they show how our relationships with dogs can be good for us.

“The benefits of assistance dogs for individuals with autism or post-traumatic stress disorder – conditions for which oxytocin is currently being used as an experimental treatment – may arise partly through these social pathways,” they write.

PUBLISHED : Friday, 17 April, 2015, 10:50am

UPDATED : Friday, 17 April, 2015, 10:50am

#AzabuUniversity   #DukeCanineCognitionCenter   #AssistanceDogs   #LoveHormone   #Oxytocin

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Robert Chaen

Global CEO-Founder of ChangeU and Movsha Movers & Shakers, Hero-CEO Whisperer, Writer, The #1 Alpha Change Expert, Father of Asian FireWalking Robert Chaen is an International Keynote Speaker, writer, researcher, and corp games designer. He is famously known to be the “Hero-CEO Whisperer”, 1-on1 coaching with many CEOs and Celebrities for corporate strategies, staff & office political issues, personal branding, and even public figure OSHA safety drilling called Drager Defense. He has transformed CEOs and managers in Coca-Cola China, TVB Hong Kong, Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong Airport Services, VADS, TM, Public Bank, Auditor General's Office Maldives, etc. He is the prolific creator and online Author of innovative management tools such as DragonCEO, Diamond Leader, Papillon Personal Effectiveness, OSHA Drager Defense, KPI Bank, etc. He is also the Founder of Movsha, an international networking with monthly mingles with MOVers & SHAkers, Angels, Entrepreneurs, CEOs, Celebrities, HR-PR-CSR, HODs, and the Most Influential IDEA people. ​Chaen is widely considered as one of the top International Platform Keynote Speakers for Resorts World Genting Senior Management Conference (Manila), 7-Eleven HK, Samsung, Coca-Cola China Mini-MBA @Tsing Hua University, Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong Jockey Club, The Story Conference where he interviewed Datuk Kamarudin (Chairman of AirAsia) and Siti Nurhaliza. He has been widely featured in TVB, AWSJ, CNBC, SCMP, The Star, and Sin Chew. As “The Father of Asian FireWalking”, he coached TVB celebrities (Ekin Cheng Yee-Kin) to walk on 650°C fire; and raised HK$68M in the world’s 1st and only live TV Charity FireWalk (TVB Tung Wah Charity Show), before Tony Robbins even came to Asia. If Robert can get you to walk on 650⁰C fire, he can inspire you to be THE BEST. He champions CN-HK-EU-US Tycoons to be philanthropic, and to be angel investors to support the next generation of Jack Mas, Steve Jobs, Richard Bransons, Steven Spielbergs, or Barrack Obamas. With some slick motivational speakers with fake doctorates out there, graduates often describe Robert to be "the most credible, empowering, truthful Coach" who believe in his graduates to believe in themselves. ​However, clients have described Robert as "The #1 Cool Badass Alpha Change Expert". He has the coolest first class stature, rapport and trust from clients. He will not hesitate to tell the badass truth ever so gently because clients are paying him big bucks to reveal the truth, find solutions, persuade the hostile HODs, and align cross-teams within the organization. Originally based in Hong Kong for 20+ years, he had worked with top Branding/Ad agencies at J Walter Thompson and Leo Burnett, and was a certified FranklinCovey (7 Habits) in USA, and NLP MasterCoach (USA). His warmth is known to soften the most hardened, resistant sceptics. He will inspire your team to Go for Top 1, or to be a Dragon CEO. With boundless energies, Robert owns 15+ successful business Joint-Ventures, and created unique products under his global VC network called Chaen's Angels VC. He is deeply passionate about ChangeUTH Youth CSR, Science-Based Medicine (vs. quackery), short films and Reality TV. Touched by a personal tragedy through the loss of his HK-born Portuguese wife, co-coach and business partner, Brenda José of 18 years, Robert explores the many ways in which the spirit world is communicating with the living with real scientific studies and evidence. He gives inspiring conferences on The Secret Afterlife.

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