Think you smell a bit rough after going for a run with your dog? Don’t worry, you don’t have to jump in the shower right away, your dog actually loves the way you smell! A recent article published in the journal Behavioural Processes studied the changes in dogs’ brains when they were exposed to different scents. The results showed that their favorite scent was of their human owners.
The brains of several dogs were scanned in an MRI machine while they were given samples of different scents: their own, a familiar human, a strange human, a familiar dog, and a strange dog. Changes in the part of the brain called the caudate nucleus were measured. The caudate nucleus is closely associated with positive expectations and rewards.
Results clearly showed that this pleasure center in the brain was most strongly activated by the scent of the familiar human. While the dogs registered all of the different smells, their brain activity showed that they had the most positive associations with their owner’s scent. Interestingly, service dogs responded even more strongly to their owner’s scent than dogs who were family pets.
The researchers who conducted the study note the results show both the power of a dog’s sense of smell, as well as the importance of his or her owner in the dog’s life.
You can read the full article HERE.
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