Do you ever sit on the couch and watch a good movie and just wish that your dog would move a little closer and snuggle up? Seems like every time you wiggle closer he moves away. Well, you might want to try a little nasal spray on him.
When scientists in Japan gave dogs a quick whiff of an oxytocin nasal spray, the pooches became more affectionate toward their owners. Oxytocin is a chemical and it carries the title of the "love hormone."
In humans it's naturally released from our pituitary gland, located at the base of our brains. It's released during special moments like snuggling or the good ole orgasm.
The new findings suggest that it might also help maintain non-romantic relationships between different species. It could come in handy on walks in the park where your dog might see a rabbit and want to go after it. One spray of oxytocin and that natural instinct may be lessened.
The co -author of the spray study, Miho Nagasawa, said "As far as we know, there are no studies on cats, but we believe that oxytocin is a hormonal mechanism that facilitates the maintenance of close social bonds not only in dogs or cats, but also in any mammal species since the oxytocin system is very ancient and has similar functions in a wide number of taxa."
Sixteen dogs of different breeds participated in the study, which examined how they behaved before being sprayed and after. Doggy disposition toward both other dogs and their human companions was monitored. According to the lead author of the study, Teresa Romero, after the dogs were sprayed they were more affectionate to their owners than during the controls.
The spray was found to promote natural secretion of oxytocin in the brains of the dogs. A high degree of heart rate variability was also observed. The spray will be a valuable tool for dog training and perhaps taming the family dog and cat so they can snuggle up together on the couch!