This article is republished here with permission from The Conversation. This content is shared here because the topic may interest Snopes readers; it does not, however, represent the work of Snopes fact-checkers or editors.
I have discovered one positive amid the pandemic: I love working with two dogs at my feet.
As someone who studies dog cognition, I often wonder: What is Charlie learning when he stops to sniff the crisp fall air? What is Cleo thinking when she stares at me while I write? Are my dogs happy?
Dogs attach to their owners in much the same way human infants attach to their parents. Like babies, dogs show distress when left with a stranger and rush to reunite upon their person’s return.
A recent study found that dogs that have been deprived of food and owners choose to greet their owners before eating. Further, their brain’s reward centers “light up” upon smelling their owners. And, when your eyes meet your dog’s, both your brains release oxytocin, also know as the “cuddle hormone.”
All of this research shows that you can make your dog happier with just one ingredient: you. Make more eye contact to release that cuddle hormone. Touch it more – dogs like pats better than treats! Go ahead and “baby talk” to your dog – it draws the dog’s attention to you more and may strengthen your bond.
Understanding your dog’s mind can not only sate your curiosity about your companion, but can also help you ensure your pup lives a good, happy life. The more you know about your furry friends the more you can do to meet their needs.
And now I am off to gaze into Cleo’s bright blue eyes, give Charlie a belly rub, and then let them take me on a “sniffy” walk.