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Science has a reason why you can’t resist those puppy dog eyes

WATCH: Scientists have now deconstructed what causes that warm, fuzzy feeling between canines and their humans have for each other. Call it puppy love, but apparently it’s all in the eyes. Mike Drolet reports.

TORONTO – You can thank evolution for the close bond you might feel with your dog, according to a new study.

The study, published in the journal Science, suggests a key hormone responsible for developing bonds between people increases in both the dog and their owner after looking into their eyes.

So why’s that important? The oxytocin hormone is sometimes called the “love hormone” and is also involved in the bonding between mother and child or between lovers during sex.

New best friend?. Heather Loney / Global News

In humans, oxytocin secretion works in a loop, according to a study. When a mother and child are breast-feeding, oxytocin levels first rise in the child, and then in turn, rise in the mother, and so on as the bond grows.

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The study, done by researchers at Azabu University in Japan, involved sampling the urine of 30 dogs and their owners before and after the pairs spent a half-hour together. Analysis showed that people whose dogs gazed into their eyes longer in the first five minutes had bigger increases in oxytocin levels. The dogs got a boost in the hormone, as well.

In love yet?. Don Curry/Don Curry

Researchers did a similar experiment on wolves raised by humans and couldn’t reproduce the same results.

This is how he makes friends. (Jodi/Jodi- FILE)

The study suggests that dogs took on “human-like modes of social communication” – such as gazing – centuries ago when they were first domesticated.

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WATCH: UBC Professor Emeritus of Psychology Dr. Stanley Coren explains more about this study

The new work is the first to present a biological reason for the intense bond between humans and dogs, according to Larry Young, a researcher at Emory University.

“When I come home from work every day, they are just as excited to see me now as they were when I got them,” Young said.

Can’t say no to this, can you?. Don Curry/Don Curry

The study does have some detractors. Clive Wynne, a researcher at Arizona State University, who studies interaction between dogs and people, thinks the study doesn’t provide enough evidence to link the close bond to the process of domestication.

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Yup. This is your new best friend. Katsuaki Shoda / EyeEm/Katsuaki Shoda / EyeEm

With files from The Associated Press

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