Dogs Follow Cues Better When They Are Loved, Study Finds

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dogLike humans, dogs release more oxytocin when they are happy, and it helps them perform tasks better.

Researchers in Australia have discovered that dogs follow cues better after they were given oxytocin, which means humans have to make them feel loved if they want their dogs to listen to them.

A team of scientists at Monash University conducted a study in which they gave one group of dogs nasal sprays containing oxytocin, or the "bonding hormone," and placebo sprays to another ground. They found that the dogs who received the sprays with oxytocin did a better job following commands and completing tasks than the control group.

Oxytocin is a chemical released when human partners snuggle with each other, as well as when parents hold their new babies, The Dodo reported. The same hormone is released when you pat or snuggle with your dogs.

Researcher Jessica Oliva, the leader of the research team, said that merely patting or talking with a dog in three minutes can produce more oxytocin in both the dog and the human.

"So that really seemed to suggest that oxytocin is involved in feelings of closeness to your dog," Oliva said, according to ABC Science.

This new information could improve the training for working and service dogs, as well as help regular pet owners to better understand their dogs.

The discovery follows the release of research showing that dogs can recognize and respond to human emotion

The study was published in the journal Animal Cognition.