Scientists have found that the "mutual gaze" between dogs and their owners can lead to a bond that is similar to that between a mother and child, with humans experiencing the same affection for their dogs as they might do for their family.

Researchers also note that wolves do not show the same response. The finding suggests the bonding process probably co-evolved in both species as dogs became domesticated, ' a news channel has reported.

"It can be said that dogs successfully cohabit with humans because they have been successful in adapting the bonding mechanism to relations with humans," said lead author Dr Miho Nagasawa, from the Azabu University, Japan.

"Dogs originally had this mechanism with the same species, but humans also went through some sort of evolution that allowed them to bond with other species, that is dogs," said Nagasawa.
Researchers observed dogs for 30 minutes in a room with their owners. The dogs that gazed at their owners the most saw a significant increase in their oxytocin levels after the experiment, the increased eye contact had also driven up levels of the hormone in their owners' brains.
Researchers then sprayed oxytocin onto the nose of some dogs before they were put into a room with their owner and two strangers for 30 minutes without any interaction from the humans.
They discovered that female dogs looked at their owners  for longer, and that the owners of these dogs released more oxytocin. These results show the existence of a continuous bonding loop between humans and dogs, driven by oxytocin, researchers said. The research was published in the journal Science.

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