This Is How Dogs Get Humans to Fall in Love With Them, According to Science

They call them “man’s best friend” for a reason.


Got “puppy love” for your pooch? You’re not just imagining things. Along with these superpowers all dogs have, man’s best friend really does have a special power that makes humans fall in love with him or her. And the secret lies in those darn puppy dog eyes.

Skeptical? There’s even scientific evidence to back it up. According to a 2015 study published in the journal Science, both dogs and their owners show a boost in oxytocin (the hormone responsible for feelings of love and connection) when the dogs make “puppy eyes” at their owners.

To observe the relationship between people and their pups, Japanese researchers conducted two experiments. The first measured the oxytocin levels of dogs and their owners before and after 30 minutes of interaction. In the second study, the researchers gave dogs oxytocin nasal spray and measured their hormone levels again.

Turns out, the longer the owners petted and talked to their dogs—as well as looked into their eyes—the higher the levels of oxytocin in both people and dogs. The second study also found that female dogs tended to stare longer at their owners after receiving the oxytocin boost. Both the pups and the humans showed increased oxytocin levels, as a result.

Bottom line: Much like we bond with other human beings through eye contact, man and his best friend grow closer by looking into each others’ eyes, researchers say. Here are even more unbelievable facts you never knew about your pooch.

“This tells us something about our relationships with dogs,” Evan MacLean, an evolutionary anthropologist at Duke University who was not involved in the new study, told Live Science. “In many ways, they’re similar to our relationships with people.”

Let’s not forget that the love goes both ways, though. Learn the secrets to becoming every dog’s favorite human—no “puppy dog eyes” required.

[Source: Live Science]

Brooke Nelson
Brooke is a tech and consumer products writer covering the latest in digital trends, product reviews, security and privacy, and other news and features for