What does your dog say with their eyes?
I was reading a blog post the other day that was reporting on the increased level of oxytocin found in the bloodstream of people who had been gazing into their dog’s eyes, It found more oxytocin in the dog’s urine as well! They called it an oxytocin feedback loop – “A dog’s gaze causes his owner’s brain to produce more oxytocin and create a positive interaction from the owner with their dog, which in turn causes a release of more oxytocin in the brain of the canine”. 1.
In case you’ve never heard of oxytocin: “Oxytocin is a hormone secreted by the posterior lobe of the pituitary gland, a pea-sized structure at the base of the brain. It’s sometimes known as the “cuddle hormone” or the “love hormone,” because it is released when people snuggle up or bond socially.” 2.
Dogs eyes are so expressive. They can’t talk, so they communicate with us through their eyes, their vocalizations, barking or whining, sometimes even with their whole body as when Jack nudges under my elbow in order to get some scritches. We learn to read our own dogs and even other’s dogs through their expressive eyes. Don’t believe me? Here’s a little test, see if you can tell me what these dogs are saying with their eyes:
1. Does Gazing Into Your Dog’s Eyes Facilitate Bonding?